Farmers are being reminded they must change their attitude towards safety as Britain’s workplace regulator readies itself for a wave of inspections in the coming months.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit farms across England, Scotland and Wales as part of a push to change the culture in the industry and check for compliance with long standing legal requirements.
People on farms are 21 times more likely to be killed in a workplace accident than other industries.
In total, there have been 161 deaths on Britain’s farms over the last five years – an average of 26 people each year. This includes members of the public and children.
HSE plans to carry out 440 visits during the campaign which will take place from the start of November until April 2024. They intend to focus on the main causes of death in farming, including working with cattle, operating and maintaining vehicles and falls from height.
Kathy Gostick said: “There are simply too many tragedies in farming and it is time for that to change. We are committed to making workplaces safer and healthier and that includes agriculture – we will do this by highlighting the risks, providing advice and guidance, and by holding employers to account for their actions.
“This means changing attitudes towards safety – it is the only way we will reduce the numbers of people being injured or killed.
Read the full HSE press release: click here
Everyone has a role to play in order to make farming a healthier and safer for future generations.
I don't work in the agricultural industry, but from an outsiders point of view, farm life seems to be completely disconnected from all other industries. Many farmers are brought up on their land, their grandparents, parents, generations of hard work, grit and determination to cultivate crops and raise livestock.
Due to generations of learnt behaviour - "this is how your grandparents did it" - the safety issues are more much complex to overcome. Yet removing the bravado mentality within farming families is the root to ensuring those families work in a safer and healthier environment.
Employees (and children*) who watch farm owners climbing on roofs without harnesses, sticking arms into machinery during maintenance without lockouts, cutting down trees without proper risk assessments will do the same (*and so will the next generation).
The bravado mentality also means that as a farmer gets older they will try to maintain their place within the "pack" even though their bodies aren't as nimble and strong as they once were. The 2023 HSE report showed that older workers, aged 65 and older, accounted for a third of all farm worker fatalities.
Now is the time for all farms to change, otherwise they risk losing someone irreplaceable... and for what? Bravado?
Here at TakeAIM / Good to Go Safety, we believe that providing your employees with as many opportunities to determine whether their next activity is safe is vitally important.
That's why TakeAIM and Good to Go Safety provide a range of tools to help achieve a safer farming environment - to find out more click here
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