A new DVD to help make getting potatoes from field to fork safer has been sent to all British Potato Council-registered growers and NAAC members.

Safe Potato Handling, with optional subtitles in Polish, Portuguese, Latvian and Lithuanian, has been made by the BPC with support from the HSE, NFU and Grimme UK.

Produced over eighteen months for the farm team involved with in-field and in-store potato grading, the DVD integrates the importance of health and safety with correct use of farm equipment and preserving potato quality and increasing sold yield.

“A whole team approach to safety is vital,” said BPC supply chain manager Phil Bradshaw.

“The practical advice was developed by consulting with farm owners, managers, and operatives. The 20min presentation is an ideal refresher to staff and a powerful training tool for new or casual employees that re-enforces the basic messages in a visual film format appropriate to farm workers, even if their first language is not English. Non-English speakers can view the DVD with subtitles and read the documentation in their native language.”

“Safety has advanced on machinery and equipment over the years”

Potato field

HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said: “Every year there are number of serious incidents on farms and even deaths.

“The DVD sets out best practice principles in a simple format that can be developed and adopted to the local circumstance. It will be a valuable tool for managers and supervisors to raise awareness amongst workers and help reduce the risk of accidents and improving the efficiency of potato harvesting, which will benefit their business.

“The people best placed to make the workplace safer are the staff and managers who work in them.” 

The DVD has sections for different levels of staff highlighting specific responsibilities.

Supervisors can watch the film with their staff and a test can be taken to check understanding. Personal details can be entered on a printed certificate, signed and dated and securely filed as a formal record.

“Safety has advanced on machinery and equipment over the years,” said Barry Baker of Grimme UK.

“Very often the main operator has been shown how to use a certain piece of equipment. But it is vital everyone who comes into contact with specific machinery understands and is aware of the risks and how the equipment should be operated and used safely.

“The DVD provides the solution and highlights the communication that is required for the whole farm team during harvesting and grading to ensure the operation is conducted safely.”

A library of printable advice sheets on the DVD, including a daily check list for casual staff, supplements the film footage.

Free copies can be obtained by emailing publications@potato.org.uk or phoning 01685 782222.