Farm safety falls under the HSE spotlight
Following a series of serious injuries, the Health and Safety Executive has revealed that the farming industry has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors. It currently sits at a staggering rate which is around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.
These findings come just weeks after the death of a three-year-old boy in Wales and a suspected cattle-trampling in Marshfield, plus a further report from members of the public about being attacked by livestock which is still under investigation.
HSE's acting head of agriculture, Adrian Hodkinson said: "While we must respect the ongoing investigations following these tragic incidents, most injuries or deaths that we've historically seen on farms have been both predictable and preventable.
"Despite the efforts of the Farm Safety Partnership in particular, an industry-wide change in attitude is needed for farmers to take action to protect themselves and others from the well-known risks they face.
“We are urging people who work on farms to make safety a priority and help us to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the industry.”
The HSE is urging those working in the agricultural and farming sector to reach out if they require guidance and support for specific tasks or activities and is offering the following advice in an attempt to reduce the number of fatal injuries occurring within the sector:
There are several farming organisations, including the Farm Safety Partnership England, that offer additional advice and support on agricultural safety matters. Those working within the industry are being urged to get in touch with any questions or queries to help improve safety on their land.
Carry out regular risk assessments
As farmers and other agricultural industries are subject to continual changes brought about by livestock and external forces such as the weather, the need for more regular risk assessments is critical to ensure worker and visitor safety.
Regular risk assessments are crucial to recognising and addressing potential risks, so seek further guidance from the HSE or Farm Safety Partnership England on how and when to conduct risk assessments.
Ensure good quality PPE is readily available
The agricultural industry can often rely on the use of heavy machinery and a range of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, so it is essential that the correct PPE is readily available to workers in the sector to keep them protected from potential risks.
Carrying out a regular workwear audit to check for tears and other PPE maintenance issues is essential for ensuring that workers are correctly attired and that their equipment provides the level protection they require, so plan regular spot checks of all PPE provisions as part of your overall safety strategy.