A Fife couple who lost their son in a forklift accident have thrown their weight behind an initiative to make farms safer for staff and children.
Richard and Linzi Nelson have backed Farm Safety Week as new figures revealed the industry is one of the most dangerous in the UK.
Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed 29 farm workers were killed in the last year – 18 times higher than the average in other major industries.
Four members of the public also died, including two children under the age of 16, between April 2017 and March 2018.
The Nelsons took to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show yesterday to talk about Stuart, 3, who died at the family home of Cuttle Hill Farm, on the outskirts of Crossgates, last February.
Father, Richard, said: “We were out feeding the cows and I said ‘make sure you keep out the way’.
“When I was operating the forklift I always had my eyes open. I kept looking, making sure he was okay. When the accident happened he was totally in the blind spot.
“When I moved the machine back he was lying there lifeless.”
The couple shared their tragic on the first day of Farm Safety Week, a joint initiative by Farm Safety Foundation, the Farm Safety Partnership and HSE.
The scheme has also been backed by former JLS star JB Gill, who turned to rearing pigs, turkeys and chickens when he quit the band.
The father-of-two said: “Farms can be wonderful places for children to grow up but the sad fact is that farms are the only workplace where children continue to be involved in fatal accidents, which is heart-breaking for the farm owners and the families involved, as well as a horrific tragedy for their communities.
“Being part of the farming community and having a young child myself, I want to help highlight the importance of child safety on farms.”
Now in its sixth year, organisers of Farm Safety Week run campaigns and make short films to raise awareness.
Stephanie Berkley, of the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Unlike other occupations, farmers don’t tend to retire at 65 and often work well into their 80s.
“Factors such as health, agility and stubbornness combine with risk-taking, fatigue and improperly maintained machinery to create this ‘risk’ nightmare.”
“We can continue to make powerful and emotive films and offer advice and guidance but we can’t do one thing.
“We can’t make farmers change their attitude. Only they can make that change.”