Agriculture is a notoriously dangerous industry, with 33 people killed in the sector in the UK in 2017-18 – 18 times higher than the all-industry fatal injury rate. There are several possible hazards inherently involved in the farming process – not least, machinery. Only last autumn, a 20-year-old woman died in Devon after her hair and clothing became ‘catastrophically entangled’ in the drive shaft of a milling machine.

If you have been injured at work while operating farming machinery, you may be entitled to claim compensation as Martin White, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department at WBW Solicitors explains.


To successfully bring a compensation claim against your employer you need to show they were negligent. Under health and safety laws, all employers have a legal duty to take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing.

This means ensuring you are properly trained and provided with the right equipment to safely carry out the tasks asked of you and that all the machinery you are required to use is regularly checked to ensure it is in good working order. They must also carry out regular risk assessments and put measures in place to ensure you are as safe as possible in your job.

If your employer fails in this legal duty and you are injured as a result you will be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Even if you are a casual worker or self-employed, you might still have the same rights as other workers under UK health & safety law.

Farming machinery injuries

As Health & Safety Executive statistics reveal, farming machinery related injuries can crop up in a variety of ways. In the South West alone last year, a farm worker died after striking his head on a trailer that he had been repairing, while another was run over by a telehandler after he left the cab while the engine running and the vehicle moved forward trapping him against the gate.

Elsewhere in the UK, farm workers died after being: trapped under an unsupported telescopic loader boom; electrocuted after striking an overhead power line with a raised part of an attachment on a farm vehicle; run over by a tractor during mowing; entangled in a potato harvester while it was being serviced; and crushed beneath an excavator arm when the arm descended.

How a solicitor can help

You should contact a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after sustain your machinery-related farming injury. They will help you gather the evidence you need – including medical reports and witness statements – to bring your case, refer you to a medical expert to assess your injuries and the effect they have had on your life, and fight hard to negotiate you a fair financial settlement.

The compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • medical expenses;
  • loss of potential earnings;
  • out of pocket expenses;
  • adaptations required to your home.

For further information, please contact Martin White, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team on 01395 280388 or email  WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Exeter, Launceston, Honiton Exmouth and Sidmouth.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.