PROTECTING South West farmers from death or serious injury, particularly among the older generation, is the focus of a unique new health and safety event in Somerset which has been planned amid a rise in farm fatalities in the region.

The Yeovil Agency of leading rural insurer NFU Mutual, along with Redlynch Agricultural Engineering, is bringing together a team of experts for the demonstration day at The Trough, Stone Lane, Yeovil, on Monday, June 20 at 11am.

The event is being staged with the support of an independent charity the Farm Safety Foundation.

The organisation was established by NFU Mutual to educate young farmers about the health and safety agenda, in an industry which still has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.

The county’s farmers are being invited to take part in the one-day event which will offer an opportunity to put a particular focus on older farmers, in light of current Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics which show farm-related fatalities in the South West have more than doubled.

According to the HSE Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in GB report, there were eight fatal injuries recorded in the South West during 2020/2021, up from three on the previous year - with the majority of those in the 60 plus age bracket.

A full programme of activities will take place on the day. Alongside health and safety presentations by the Farm Safety Foundation and NFU Mutual’s Risk Management Services Ltd team, Redlynch Agricultural Engineering will provide farm machinery to be used in accident scenario demonstrations.

Farmers will then be asked to identify the potential hazards and how to stay safe.

There will also be information on how to work with livestock safely and use the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during certain tasks.

Stephanie Berkeley, manager of the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “The South West has a proud heritage of farming however, the industry continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.

“Half of the fatal injuries that occurred last year in the South West were workers over the age of 60.

"The average age of a UK farmer is 59 so, engaging with this important audience is key to making a real difference.

“As a charity that has trained over 16,000 young farmers in land-based colleges and universities across the UK and through the young farmers’ clubs network, the Foundation knows - and our research supports this - that the next generation of farmers have a better attitude to risk-taking and are driving better safety behaviours in the workplace.

“The main causes of fatal farm incidents have not changed over the past 60 years despite legislation and an increased awareness of the importance of working safely and, with 53 per cent of those incidents last year being over the age of 60, we need to engage with farmers of all ages to challenge and change attitudes and make our farms safer places to work.”

Event organiser Mathew Latchford, Agent at NFU Mutual’s Yeovil agency, said: “NFU Mutual’s health and safety consultancy is an integral part of our overall services and this event will enable us to go the extra mile to protect older members of the farming community in Yeovil and beyond.

“Fatalities and life-changing injuries can have devastating consequences for not only the victims but their families and colleagues too.

“Very often, it only takes straightforward safety precautions to afford greater protection, which makes it even more heartbreaking when tragedies do happen.

“We are determined to continue to take a proactive approach and play a leading role in this important workplace agenda, using events like these to better equip farmers, particularly those of an older generation, with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe.”

Due to limited spaces, attendees will need to book in advance.

Anyone wanting to take part in the Farm Safety Day can call 01935 475661 or email