Farm safety drive to launch at Grassland & Muck

The farming industry is set to launch a Farm Safety Charter in a bid to cut the number of fatalities and accidents in the agricultural sector.

The charter will be officially launched at this year’s Grassland and Muck event.

Farmers attending the show will be able to visit the forum theatre at 9.30am on May 18 where NFU president Peter Kendall and Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive, will explain more about the initiative.

The launch of the Farm Safety Charter followslast year’s industry summit which set about finding tangible ways of improving farm safety and reducing deaths and injuries.

A range of farming organisations, including Farmers Weekly, has given backing to the charter.

All the bodies involved have joined forces to raise awareness of the dangers faced when working in the agricultural sector and to provide practical advice, training and guidance on how farms can be made safer.

In 2010, agriculture became, statistically, the most dangerous industry in the country. 455 people have died on British farms in the past decade – that equates to almost one death every week.

Peter Kendall said: “455 deaths on British farms should shock everybody involved in farming. We know this is an unpredictable job and we have to cope with long hours, difficult working conditions and often working alone, but as an industry we must work together to raise awareness and drive these figures down.

“The NFU is determined to provide leadership by recognising its responsibilities to promote safe systems of work within all sectors of the industry.

“We now need to build on the good work that has already been done by the HSE to change our culture, attitude and behaviour towards farm safety. We must demonstrate that a good safety record is proof of a professional, modern industry. Safe working is good business practice.”

* More stories, pictures and video from Grassland and Muck 2011.