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Child farm deaths and injury warning

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As schools across the South West break up for the summer holidays this week, regional insurance firm Cornish Mutual is warning parents about the dangers of children playing on or near farms.

Rural insurer Cornish Mutual, which serves Members across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, is highlighting the potentially lethal consequences in a bid to drive down farm deaths and injuries.

Over the last ten years the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that children have been killed or seriously injured on farms as a direct result of falling from vehicles, contact with machinery or animals, drowning and asphyxiation, poisoning and serious burns.

Alan Goddard, Managing Director for Cornish Mutual, said: Farms can be very attractive places for youngsters to play during the summer holidays. While farm yards, buildings and stores can be exciting and interesting for children to explore, they can be full of hazards. We want parents and families in the region to teach their children to be wary of the dangers on farms and make sure theyre supervised by a responsible adult at all times.

He added: Quad bikes, tractors and other vehicles should also be kept out of the way. We understand that farms are homes as well as workplaces and that you cant eliminate all the dangers, but its about taking sensible precautions to reduce the risks wherever you can.

The push on awareness comes as the Health and Safety Executive recently released figures showing a rise in agriculture related deaths during 2009/10 there were 38 fatal injuries with a rate of 8.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Farm workers, visitors and walkers are also being targeted by Cornish Mutual as part of its campaign. Agriculture has one of the highest fatal accident rates of all industries in the South West.

Graeme Walker, the Health and Safety Executives Head of Agriculture, said: 38 workers were killed on British farms last year proving once again that agriculture is the most dangerous way of making a living in Great Britain. Farming and agricultural work has a poor safety record compared with other industries we cannot let this trend continue.

Cornish Mutual is urging farmers to check that they have the right insurance cover in place should the worst happen. Farmers and landowners can be held legally accountable for injuries which happen as a result of their activities. The company provides a range of insurance products to indemnify farmers and land owners against these legal liabilities.

The Agricultural Wages Act means farmers are legally required to pay most full-time employees whilst they are off work due to injury. Insurance policies can help to offset the income lost as a result of an accident, and may be used to pay overtime to employees or hire temporary or replacement labour depending on the needs of the farmer.

Founded by a group of Westcountry farmers in 1903, Cornish Mutual is the only general insurer based in the South West.  Even today, the company is still owned by its Members, and remains at the heart of rural communities throughout Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
Although staying true to its origins in agriculture (around two thirds of Cornwalls farmers are Members), Cornish Mutual now provides household, commercial, events and personal accident insurance to Members of all descriptions, living or working throughout the South West countryside.


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