NFU MUTUAL, the insurance group, is urging those farmers intending to host open or visitors day‘s this spring to minimise the potential risks by checking their farm is safe beforehand.

“Hosting a farm visit is an excellent way to educate members of the public about modern farming, but visits must be planned carefully to minimize the risk of accidents,” says Pamela Oldfield, of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services.

“A number of hazards lie in wait for the unwary, especially those who are visiting a farm for the first time. And the UK‘s increasingly litigious culture means farmers and property owners can face big claims for damages should the worst happen.”

Ms Oldfield is recommending to the thousands of farmers who will host visits this spring to minimize the risks by following the NFU Mutual‘s checklist:

  • Identify and contain hazardous areas and activities, in particular machinery, chemicals and slurry pits. Visitors should be warned not to handle animal feed and be careful not to let animals lick them as some diseases can be transferred in this way. Remember visitors need access to toilets, hot running water and soap.
  • Keep children out of work areas – remember children are naturally curious and can often get into apparently inaccessible places – make sure this cannot happen by means of fences, padlocks, grids and covers.
  • Keep employees informed – let them know where and when the public will be visiting and advise them on non-hazardous activities they can demonstrate.
  • Brief the visit organiser – and provide an information pack detailing suitable clothing, first-aid and parking facilities. It is also important to check that the number of adult supervisors is adequate.
  • Inform farm insurer that a farm visit is taking place.