Students simulate an accident in a shed© Guy Newman

Hard-hitting training using re-created accident scenes is helping reduce serious injuries and fatalities on farms.

Bicton and Duchy Colleges in south-west England are working with the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF) charity to instil a deeper understanding of safe working practices which they hope will stay with students through their careers.

See also: Risk-taking culture ‘rife’ among young farmers

Roger Clarke, the colleges’ head of apprentice training, said: “As technology advances within farming, the risk of accidents can actually increase.

“While the safety of machinery and equipment has improved, the fact that machines can do so much more can make people complacent.”

The FSF was established by rural insurer NFU Mutual in 2014 to raise awareness of farm safety among young farmers.

Challenging attitudes

It seeks to challenge and change their attitudes towards farming safely and reduce the toll of injuries and fatalities.

The foundation worked with the colleges to devise a safety course raises awareness of the risks and hazards farmers face in the workplace.

Together, the charity recreated four farm accident scenes in realistic settings on the colleges’ working farms.

Students are asked to work out what may have happened at each “accident scene” and decide what immediate action should be taken.

They are asked to contemplate first aid implications and explore what measures should be taken to prevent similar accidents in future.

NFU Mutual chief executive Lindsay Sinclair said: “The training programme demonstrates the need to put safety first at all times when working on a farm.”

It sought to reduce the risk of becoming complacent when working with large machinery and livestock on a daily basis.

In the year to March 2017 alone, there were seven fatal accidents in south-west England – the poorest record in the UK.

Many more accidents caused serious and life-changing injuries, according to Health and Safety Executive statistics.