Farmer Focus: Health and safety inspection was time well spent

I mentioned a few first-time events for me in my last piece. Since then, I have had another new experience – although I must admit I wasn’t excited about this one.

It was an inspection by the Health and Safety Executive, scheduled with just a few days’ notice.

While our record of very few accidents, regular machinery checks, staff training, risk assessments, safe systems of work and so on are all positive and thorough, that word “inspection” just made me think this was not something I was going to enjoy.

See also: Health and safety policy: What farmers need to include

About the author

Jack Bosworth
Livestock Farmer Focus writer Essex pig farmer Jack Bosworth farms 263ha of arable and a 540-sow farrow-to-finish operation in partnership with his family. About 60% of pigs are finished at home and 150 are sent to a farm in Norfolk to finish on a bed and breakfast contract.
Read more articles by Jack Bosworth

However, I have to say it was time well spent. We had two people visit and they were with us for just over two hours.

On arrival, I welcomed them to the farm and gave them a brief on the history of the business, followed by a comprehensive update on the current operations we undertake and who does what within the business.

I went on to explain that we couldn’t do what we do without good people and our overwhelming priority is the safety of our staff, visitors and animals.

It was made clear I would welcome any feedback from the two of them, given they go out and see different businesses every day.

There was lots of positive and beneficial discussion in the office and out on the farm, where appreciation was shown for what was being done well, but also how risk could be further reduced.

For example, if we identify powerlines as obstacles in the guidance systems on our machinery, operators will get a warning when they are in rows containing telegraph poles.

All in all, it was a positive experience and one we shouldn’t be afraid of. I think a good attitude towards health and safety and welfare, and being willing to adapt, are fundamental.

Lastly, I would like to thank Zoe for her contribution to the business during her time with us.

She will be leaving us at the end of June for an exciting opportunity following just over three years of full-time employment.

Zoe started on the feeding herd but soon moved over to the breeding herd and has done a great job. Thanks for all your help and best of luck in the new job.