In the UK, official government figures have estimated that almost 80% of all plant protection pesticides in England and Wales are used in the agricultural or horticultural industries. These substances are usually either synthetic, chemical or natural, and often used to eliminate or control pests.
However, although many individuals in agriculture still use these chemicals, their use has declined in recent years, possibly due to studies showing that pesticides can have serious negative consequences on the environment.
For example, these substances have the potential to contaminate water supplies, adversely affect ecosystems, as well as pollute the soil. In addition, if used incorrectly, pesticides can also harm humans.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), pesticides have the potential to seriously damage skin and cause respiratory problems. Therefore, as these substances may be classified as a dangerous material, the independent watchdog states they may fall under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
When an employer uses a substance which could adversely affect a person's wellbeing, this legislation requires them to adequately control these materials. For example, they might be able to do this by substituting dangerous chemicals for safer variants or preventing exposure by supplying adequate personal protective equipment.
However, although the regulations of COSHH may be designed to help prevent individuals from suffering chemical exposure, this legislation might be largely ignored in the agricultural industry, which could lead to workers coming into contact with pesticides.
Those employed in this profession could be more at risk of suffering personal injury or occupational ill-health than other individuals. For example, the HSE states that, although less than 1.5% of workers carry out tasks in this sector, up to 20% of work-related fatalities occur in agriculture annually.
According to the independent watchdog, this sector is hazardous for a number of reasons. For example, it appears that duty-holders often possess "a widespread belief that regulation and red tape are a burden", demonstrate poor levels of competency as well as training, and regularly implement unsafe practices.
Therefore, although the HSE has a substantial amount of material aimed at preventing staff members from suffering pesticide injuries, it seems that those in agriculture may choose to dismiss this information.
If you have been harmed while using pesticides and the incident was not your fault, Seth Lovis & Co could potentially help you claim agricultural accident compensation.
Compensation for pesticide injuries
Our team of specialist solicitors have helped numerous agricultural workers receive compensation for pesticide injuries and they could potentially benefit you as well.
To find out if you are entitled to make a pesticide claim, please email our department through an online enquiry form or contact us today on 0370 218 4025.