A service to help farms and rural businesses operate more safely has been launched by NFU Mutual.

The NFU Mutual Risk Management Services will offer health and safety advice to help small businesses identify and manage risks to employees and the public.

As part of the service, farmers will receive an onsite inspection to highlight risk areas, as well as an advice manual and access to a free phone helpline.

NFU Mutual hopes the support service will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on farms, as well as help rural businesses avoid prosecution by failing to comply with safety legislation.

John Roberts, NFU Mutual Risk Management Services’ managing director, said using machinery and chemicals and working in remote areas meant farmers need to be aware of possible health and safety risks.

“Investing in health and safety makes good sense,” he said. ”With all the legislative requirements, not doing anything isn’t an option.”

The service will cost rural businesses around £850 a year, while NFU members will receive a 10% discount.