Farm Safety Week highlights importance of wellbeing

Growers and livestock producers are being urged to stop and think about their safety and wellbeing while living and working on UK farms.

Protecting the physical wellbeing and mental health of everyone in the agricultural community is the focus of this year’s Farm Safety Week, which runs from 15-19 July.

See also: Why farmers are backing campaign to cut accidents

The week will highlight good practices and share positive stories about living and farming well – while encouraging people to adopt better working methods.

It is being co-ordinated by the Farm Safety Foundation charity and supported by farm safety partnerships, bringing together dozens of farming organisations.

Farm fatalities

Agriculture remains the UK’s most dangerous occupation, according to the latest statistics – with a fatality rate 18 times higher than the all-industry average.

Some 32 people were killed on British farms last year, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Farm Safety Foundation Stephanie Berkeley said: “Farming, as an industry, is absolutely vital to the UK economy – it is the bedrock of our food and drink industry.

“On a farm, as with any business, the number-one resource is the people.

“So why is it that farmers give more attention to their livestock, crops and machinery than to themselves and their own wellbeing?”

Greatest asset

Many farmers were using technology, learning business skills and taking innovative steps to make their farm businesses safe, resilient and sustainable, said Ms Berkeley.

But it was equally important to realise that they themselves were their farm’s greatest asset.

Ms Berkeley said: “Investing in your physical and mental wellbeing will be the only way to really future-proof your business, and your life.”

Recent research suggests that awareness of farm safety has never been higher, with more than two-thirds of farmers saying they are aware of the Farm Safety Week initiative.

Time for action

But Ms Berkeley said: “Awareness is one thing – the time has come for action.”

This year’s campaign would bring the focus back to farmers, farmworkers and farming families and their needs in a changing and uncertain world, she added.

Farm Safety Week would highlight inspiring stories of resilience to encourage farmers to reduce the number of life-changing and life-ending accidents on farms.

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