Those working in the farming industry around the UK would be wise to review their health and safety practices at work, since the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it will be carrying out a stringent programme of inspections on farms to review standards… potentially leading to serious penalties handed out if necessary.
Inspectors will be checking to make sure that risks are being controlled in numerous areas, including livestock, children, falls from height and machinery.
Unfortunately, agriculture still has one of the poorest records of any sector in Britain, with the latest official figures showing that 33 people were killed in the industry in 2017/2018… which is approximately 18 times higher than the all-industry fatality rate.
The most recent HSE report into injuries at work showed that being injured by an animal (cattle) caused the most deaths, with almost half of the agricultural workers killed over the age of 65.
Rick Brunt, Head of Agriculture with the HSE, explained that a step change in terms of attitude throughout the farming industry is now being seen, but as encouraging as this is, the inspections being carried out will serve as a reminder to those in the sector of just how important it is to manage the risks associated with the job so that “everyone can go home from their work healthy”.
“Everyone involved in farming has a role to play. Those working in the industry need to understand the risks they face and the simple ways they can be managed. Those that work with the industry can be part of the change that is so badly needed.
“Farmers, managers and workers are reminded that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming,” Mr Brunt went on to say.
Take a look at this guide on the HSE website to find out what the inspections will likely entail, as well as what the common risks to health and safety on farms may include. The document will help you work out what you need to do in order to control these common risks, implement safer working practices and you’ll be more compliant with the law as a result, helping to prevent accidents and ill health.
For example, where vehicles and machinery are concerned, you’ll need to demonstrate that operators have received training on each vehicle they use and follow the simple safe stop routine before getting out of or off a vehicle.
As for the handling of cattle, you’ll need to be able to prove that your stock tasks are carried out on restrained animals using good handling facilities, that your workers are fit and in good health, that doors in a race are operated from the working side and that you don’t have to work in the crush if there’s an unsecured animal waiting in the race behind.
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