James Chapman  -  What can be done to reverse the appalling safety record in agriculture.

Richard Lawes Foundation

10 years ago my Life changed forever when I had a farming accident and lost my left arm. Since my accident I have used my experience to help Promote farm safety for HSE, the farm safety foundation and Young farmers clubs. However despite all efforts agriculture remains the most dangerous industry to work in. This has led me to apply for a Nuffield scholarship so I can visit other countries in an attempt to get some understanding of the problem and hopefully make a real difference. I hope to discover the main reasons for most accidents in a bid to understand if they could have been avoided through training or if it’s an attitude issue. My aim is to bring together all the good work that has been done around the world into 1 project and hopefully my work will not only bring change to the UK but around the world. 

As a 3rd generation farmer you could easily say it’s in my blood, I was brought up with my 3 brothers on a small council dairy farm where I discovered my love of everything mechanical. After leaving school I had a year working for a local contractor before spending 2 years completing a national diploma in agriculture at Warwickshire collage. After college I continued contracting, firstly working for someone else then eventually I started my own contracting business before losing my arm. My YFC carrier started in earnest after the accident, taking up county chairman, area chairman and finally becoming the first Warwickshire national chairman. My work on farm safety led to being awarded the farmers weekly Farming Champion in 2011 followed by receiving a MBE for services to farm safety.

I am currently working on a 450 acre arable farm, we grow wheat, barley and spring beans and I am always looking for new ways of improving yields while keeping costs as low as possible. In 2013 I married Anna who has been my biggest support over the last 9 years and without her I couldn’t have achieved all I have and I certainly wouldn’t have applied for this scholarship without her complete support.


  • Project Details

My project is still being developed and I am still on the lookout for more information on farm safety around the world but so far I will be traveling to the following,

I plan on traveling to Denmark where work was done in the 90s around training for farmers around farm safety but they still suffer from a poor safety record.

Ireland has recently introduced a scheme that uses European money to enable farmers to access funding for safety improvements on farm, so I want to see how the scheme is progressing.

Australia and Canada are also on my list of places to visit as they have charities set up to prevent accidents through trainings and online advice which we could replicate.

I also want to look into other industries that have similar problems to agriculture, so I plan on looking at the forestry industry both in Canada and New Zealand to compare farming and forestry to hopefully find commonality around safety.

Finally I must not forget to look a bit closer to home so I will be quizzing farmers from the UK about why they think accidents happen and what they think would help them stay safe in their business