AN agricultural expert is urging farmers to be vigilant after seven people were killed on farms in Yorkshire and Humber in just 12 months.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 33 people across Britain were killed in agriculture in 2017/18 – three more on the previous year.

These findings have further cemented agriculture’s reputation as the riskiest industry to work in.

In Yorkshire and Humber, seven people were killed in agriculture, making it the region with the highest number of deaths.

Edmund Sword, of rural insurance specialist Lycetts’ Yorkshire office, said: “Agriculture’s high fatality rate significantly outstrips that of other industries.

“It is more than five times higher than the second most-risky industry, construction.

“Farmers face potentially fatal risks on a daily basis, from working with unpredictable animals to potentially dangerous machinery, so protecting personal and employee health should be top priority.

“Sadly, members of the public, family members and children living on the farm also get caught up in incidents and account for some of the overall deaths.

“It is clear the burden of keeping farms safe is a heavy, but necessary one, with no room for error.”

Of the 33 deaths in the agricultural sector this year, four were members of the public; two were children.

Deaths in Yorkshire and Humber include an 81-year-old self-employed farm partner, who was butted by a cow after entering a pen to check on a calf. He died from serious internal injuries.

Among others, a 64-year-old farm director was run over by a tractor during mowing, and a 66-year-old self-employed farm partner was attacked by a bull and trampled by cattle.

Nearly half of the agricultural workers killed in Britain were over 65 and almost twice as many self-employed people were killed as employees.

Richard Wade, of Lycetts Risk Management Services, said: “Sadly, some of these deaths are a result of freak accidents, but others are preventable.

“By implementing health and safety policies, carrying out robust risk assessments and undertaking health and safety training, farmers can ensure good practice is an integral part of their business.”