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Agricultural event attempts to tackle most dangerous industry in UK

Statistics show that on average one farmer dies through injuries sustained at work each week in the UK. Photo: PA

A series of safety demonstrations are due to be staged at this years Livestock 2012 which opens today.

This new initiative comes following statistics showing that on average one farmer dies through injuries sustained at work each week in the UK.

Fatal accidents are 12 times more likely in agriculture than other industries, this figure remains consistent.

Livestock 2012 is a leading agricultural event, running on the 4th and 5th September this year attracting 16,000 people.

One farmer who knows the importance of safety is James Chapman, he lost his arm in 2005 when he was working on a friend's farming machinery.

Farmer James Chapman lost his arm in a farming accident in 2005. Credit: Farmers Weekly

I had my accident on January 21st 2005, I was working on some machinery for a friend, looking back it wasn’t as safe as it could have been. The rotating blades caught my clothing and my arm was taken around the machine and flipped me over the other side, when officials came out they said I was lucky as this type of accident is usually fatal.

– James Chapman

Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in this country. While the sector contains as few as 1.5% of the working population, it features 20% of people killed at work.

The reasons for this include more farmers having to work alone, they are using more powerful machinery and the work force is ageing.

Five live demonstrations will be showcasing at Livestock 2012, with the latest techniques to reduce accidents which focus on workplace transport responsible for the highest number of farming deaths including fork lift trucks, tractors as well as livestock related incidents.

James Chapman who was once Chairman of National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs says something has to be done:

"Every other industry has had something done to make it safer, the building industry was very unsafe ten years ago but they have done something about it, the thing is it’s very difficult to tell a farmer what to do on his own land, they don’t see it as a job but as a way of life, so it is hard to change their mind set."

– James Chapman

Mr Chapman says he understands it is difficult for farmers to do everything by the 'health and safety manual' but he hopes that attitudes will change and save lives after the demonstrations at Livestock 2012:

"I hope that Livestock 2012 will make a difference to the number of farmers injured or killed each year, something has to change, the ethos of most farmers is ‘it won’t happen to me’, my message would be even if you can’t do everything by the book ‘take your time, stand back and think before you do anything on a machine."

– James Chapman

Livestock 2012 is being held at the NEC today and tomorrow.