If a farm injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Farming can be a relatively dangerous profession, with hazards including dangerous machinery, unpredictable livestock and exposure to harmful substances.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a farming injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a farm injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
According to the Health and Safety Executive(HSE), agricultural workers are more likely to sustain a workplace injury than in almost all other occupations.
Over the 40 years since the introduction of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, fatal injury numbers in agriculture have not fallen in line with construction and manufacturing. Statistics published by the HSE for 2023 reveal that the fatality rate in farming is 4 times higher than it is in construction.
Although only 1% of workers are employed in agriculture, the industry has the highest fatality rate at 7.87 per 100,000 workers.
- 16% of farming injuries are reported (compared with around 50% in other industries).
- Musculoskeletal injuries are 3 times higher than the average of all industries.
- Farmers suffer asthma at twice the national average.
- Around 20,000 farm workers are affected by zoonoses (disease passed from animals to humans) annually.
Why is farming so dangerous?
The farming environment is inherently risky. Dangerous machinery, vehicles, chemicals are the tools of the trade.
Farmers must work with livestock, at height and near pits and silos, all of which put individuals at increased risk of accident or illness.
Farming is physically demanding, and its repetitive nature can cause a range of health problems, including severe back pain.
Inhaling dust, handling loads, being exposed to noise or vibration, and working in all weathers may cause ill health. Symptoms may take years to develop and lead to permanent disability, and in some cases premature death.
What are the main injury risks for farmers?
Figures released by the HSE show the most common injuries (some of which may be fatal) occur from:
- Farm accidents involving vehicles, tractors, quad bikes, combine harvesters etc.
- Injuries caused by falling objects - bales, trees.
- Falls from height on a farm - from trees, ladders and roofs
- Asphyxiation or drowning from accidents involving grain silos, slurry stores or pits.
- Accidents involving farm machinery - exposed transmission belts and blades
- Dangerous livestock - crushing, kicking, biting, and trampling
- Being trapped by something collapsing or overturning;
- Having contact with electricity, particularly overhead power lines.
Do I have a farm injury claim?
If you've been injured in an accident that was caused another person or organisation in the last 3 years, you will be entitled to make a claim for financial compensation.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly to blame?
Identifying who is legally responsible for a claimant's injuries is not always obvious.
In our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers felt they were at least partly responsible for their accident or injuries.
If you believe you were partly responsible, you may still have a claim. If you were injured at work, you should be able to claim compensation from your employer even if your actions, or the actions of a colleague, contributed to your injury.
How long do I have to claim farm injury compensation?
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.
If you were not immediately aware that you were harmed by someone else's negligence, the 3-year time limit runs from the date you were diagnosed and became aware of what caused your injury or illness.
What if I'm self-employed?
The seasonal nature of farming means that many farm workers are self-employed. Casual work, agency workers and zero-hours contract workers are increasingly common.
Whatever your employment status, the employer or farm operator owes you the same duty of care as they would for full time employees.
If you are self-employed and are injured because of the negligence of the farm operator, you may still have grounds for a work accident claim.
What if I'm on a zero-hours contract?
Regardless of the type of contract you are employed on, your employer owes you the same duty of care.
If your working conditions are unsafe in any way and you are injured as a result, you can claim work accident compensation even if you are on a zero-hours contract.
How much compensation can I claim for a farm injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include lost wages, bonuses, benefits and other perks, damage to clothing, or any other out of pocket expenses.
Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your farm injury, including emergency care, wound care, diagnostic imaging tests and surgical intervention.
Defective farm equipment injuries
The European Union Occupational Safety and Health Agency (EU-OSHA) reports that 80% of farming workplaces face risks from machinery or hand tools. Often, employers neglect their duty of care by using poorly maintained, defective, or unsuitable farm equipment, leading to serious or fatal injuries.
Farm vehicles with compromised brakes, axles, wheels, or tyres can lead to dangerous rollovers, posing a threat to both drivers and nearby workers. Many farm machines have moving parts like chopping mechanisms and conveyors. Without proper guards, these can entangle clothing, hair, or limbs, causing severe injuries.
Farm machinery often relies on multiple power sources - mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical. Faults in these systems can have dire consequences, such as a hydraulic lift failure leading to crushing injuries or a malfunctioning electrical stop causing entrapment.
High-pressure hydraulic oil leaks can cause skin penetration or eye burns. Even basic tools like ladders or chains can be hazardous if defective; for instance, a chain with weak links can snap and recoil, striking a worker. These risks highlight the need for thorough maintenance and safety protocols on farms.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial for worker safety, encompassing items like helmets, gloves, and safety harnesses. The 2022 amendment to the PPE at Work Regulations mandates employers to provide PPE to all workers, including self-employed workers, a change from the previous 1992 regulations.
If inadequate training was provided, or machinery was unfit for its intended use, or you were not provided with suitable PPE, a claim may be possible.
Farmer's lung in agricultural workers
Agricultural workers who handle cattle or work with hay, grains, or flour, are at a higher risk of developing Farmer's Lung, a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in damp hay and other agricultural products. Symptoms, ranging from flu-like discomfort to severe respiratory illness, vary based on exposure length and individual sensitivity to allergens.
Preventing exposure is key to avoiding farmer's lung. If avoiding exposure isn't feasible, employers must ensure proper safety measures like mechanised handling, adequate ventilation, and appropriate PPE. Continued exposure without precautions can worsen the condition.
Symptoms like breathing difficulty and chest tightness must be medical assessed. Diagnosis involves a lung x-ray, blood tests, and breathing capacity tests. Treatment includes corticosteroids, but ongoing exposure to allergens can aggravate the condition.
If your employer failed to implement safety measures, resulting in you developing farmer's lung, it may form the basis of a compensation claim.
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your farm injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your work accident claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.