Bridgette Baker: Clarkson’s capers raise serious farm safety concerns

Before writing this, I feared the topic might make a “Karen” column about how important health and safety is in farming.

Then I realised my thinking like that is, in itself, a reflection on my own attitude – and that of many others – when they hear words “health and safety”.

But this is a topic that can’t be talked about enough. Most farmers know someone who has suffered a life-changing injury or lost their life, and it is a reminder that none of us are invincible.

I’m certainly guilty of sometimes not being as safe at work as I should be.

And so we come to Clarkson’s Farm.

See also: Bridgette Baker – mainstream media isn’t always fair to YFCs

About the author

Bridgette Baker
Somerset young farmer Bridgette Baker hails from a mixed beef and arable farm near Yeovil, and studies agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University. An enthusiastic member of her local Young Farmers Club, Bridgette keeps her own Oxford Sandy and Black pigs and works her family’s farm rearing calves.
Read more articles by Bridgette Baker

Since the first series in 2021 I have been waiting excitedly for the follow-up, and it did not disappoint.

It has been an amazing show that puts British agriculture in the spotlight and, thanks to Jeremy’s large fan-base, has everyone talking, no matter their background, around the world.

It has exposed the struggles faced by farmers, as well as showing what a rewarding job it can be.

Clarkson’s Farm features real farmers who are sharing what they do.

But Jeremy was using a chainsaw without six of the seven regulated items of PPE; Kaleb attempted a rush job on the cattle fences leading to an accident, and seeing them not using safe working at height practices does show the culture that has formed in farming communities regarding health and safety.

Farmers often learn from other farmers and we are all impressionable. A recent Health and Safety Executive report highlights being struck by an object and falling from heights as two of the five common reasons for fatalities on farms.

This government organisation, as well as farming charities such as Yellow Wellies, advocate new resources and techniques to make work safer, and provide information about farm fatalities to improve farming’s safety record.

Could Clarkson’s Farm have the power to slightly undermine that?

The safety message should be pushed until it is habit. Only then will we stop agriculture having the highest number of fatal injuries of any industry. Calling out bad safety at work when you see it is how attitudes can be changed.