Stephanie Berkeley


Supporting our communities - Farm Safety

We're responsibly saving lives on farms

'I'd rather lose my job than my life!' - the moving words of 17-year-old Jack Sutherland from South Staffordshire College, as the realisation of how easy it is to lose your life on a farm dawned on him.

Jack had been on one of The Farm Safety Foundation’s award-winning and innovative ‘Introduction to Farm Safety’ courses which aims to help young agricultural students - and the farmers of the future - understand the dangers and hazards that working on a farm entails.

In 2014, NFU Mutual set up The Farm Safety Foundation, which is a registered charity, to help young farmers challenge their behaviours and change their attitudes to farming safely because the rate of deaths is six times higher in this industry than in construction.

The facts are shocking:

  • 27 farm workers lost their lives in the workplace in 2016
  • In 2017 so far, there have been 12 deaths and nine of those took place in February.

While UK farmers are among the best in the world in their field, farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation and remains one of our country’s most hazardous industries - accounting for 1.5% of workers, but 15-20% of all worker fatalities (HSE).

Three years on, The Farm Safety Foundation is making a huge difference and impact on the lives of young farmers. The team delivered their course at 19 colleges across the UK last year and they plan to get to 30 colleges this year. That’s 2,602 agricultural students who’ve listened, learned, took part in role plays, watched shocking videos of real farmers who’ve lost limbs or family members and then had to think on their feet in real life accident situations.

But what really makes our day at NFU Mutual is when we get results such as 96% of agricultural students surveyed saying that, after receiving the training, they would think twice about taking risks in the future. That’s what we set The Farm Safety Foundation up to do and it’s just one of the ways we are trying to make a difference. 

Find out more about the challenges we have taken in order to do more for our communities by downloading our Responsible Business Report 2016 below.

Cover of the Responsible Business Report 2016


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Stephanie Berkeley

Article author

Stephanie looks after the Farm Safety Foundation, working to raise safety awareness among young farmers, and is very proud to be helping reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents across the sector. She’s a qualified journalist and a former fashion magazine editor.

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