A major safety campaign to reduce farm fatalities and accidents has launched at the LAMMA agricultural machinery event in Birmingham.
Co-ordinated by the Farm Safety Partnership, which represents 38 farming-related organisations, the campaign will run throughout 2019.
Over the year it will focus on different aspects of farm safety – including child safety, livestock handling and working at height.
Launched on Tuesday (8 January), the campaign kicked off with a focus on farm machinery and transport.
Farmers, contractors and farm workers are being urged to highlight the campaign by using the hashtag #DriveSafetyForward on social media.
Campaign supporters include farm membership organisations, machinery dealers, auctioneers and training providers as well as Farmers Weekly.
Worst safety record
Agriculture has the poorest safety record of any industry in Britain.
A total of 33 people were killed in agriculture across Britain in 2017-18 – about 18 times the all-industry fatal injury rate.
NFU vice-president and Farm Safety Partnership chairman Stuart Roberts said the aim was to make agriculture safer.
“We are all aware that agriculture has a terrible track record when it comes to health and safety in the workplace, and the partnership is working with the industry to reverse this.
“I genuinely believe we are starting to see farmers and their workers responding and now it’s time to redouble all our efforts in this area.”
The campaign comes as farmers are being told to pay closer attention to how they manage workplace risk – or face serious penalties.
Due to begin soon, a Health and Safety Executive inspection programme will review health and safety standards on farms across the country.
Inspections aim to ensure that farmers responsible for a workplace are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.
If they are not, the HSE says it will use enforcement to bring about improvements.
The campaign follows a series of compliance events developed as a result of research into farmers’ attitudes to risk, in a bid to improve behaviour in the industry.
Farmers were given the opportunity to attend one of these events – paid for by the HSE – to help them comply with the law and prepare for inspections.
The HSE is now following up these events to make sure farms are doing the right thing.
HSE head of agriculture Rick Brunt said safety inspectors were seeing signs of a change in attitudes across the farming industry but more action was needed.
Role to play
“These inspections act as a reminder to farmers of the importance of managing risks so that everyone can go home from their work healthy,” Mr Brunt said.
“Everyone involved in farming has a role to play.
“Those working in the industry need to understand the risks they face and the simple ways they can be managed.
“Those that work with the industry can be part of the change that is so badly needed.
“Farmers, managers and workers are reminded that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming.”