January is an ideal opportunity to take a step back, review your approach to health and safety and make sure you have appropriate policies and procedures in place to minimise risk.
With the number of fatal accidents in the agricultural industry in 2017 totalling 27 according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive – equating to 7.73 deaths per 100,000 workers compared to 1.94 in construction, health and safety is a serious issue within farming.
Everyone involved in the farming industry needs to question what is driving these fatalities and think about what they can personally do within their own business to reduce the figure and save lives.
The quieter winter months provide a great opportunity for focusing on tasks that often get pushed into the background during busier times such as servicing and repairing equipment that has worked hard.
Promoting a good health and safety culture is paramount to success, but it requires effort from everyone involved in the day to day running of the farm.
Encouragingly, it appears that the younger generation seems to be increasingly savy about health and safety. As a result of colleges pushing the health and safety message more than ever before, younger farm staff are often vocal about expecting measures to be in place and expect the provision of regular training.
Top farm health and safety tips:
- Make use of appropriate signage, particularly in relation to speed restrictions, overhead power lines and use of eye protectors.
- Beware of people, machines, livestock and buildings when manoeuvring vehicles and machine around yards.
- Turn radios off in cabs when moving around yards.
- Always turn machines off when leaving them and remove keys from the ignition.
- Always lay heavy objects flat so that they cannot fall over, or place them on pallets so that they can be moved easily.
- When working at height ensure you use safe means of access, such as a mobile elevated work platform or crawling boards.
- Make sure guards and safety rails are in place and in good working order.
- Always leave areas where you have been working in a clean and safe state.
If people pledged to adhere to all these measures as their New Year resolution then there is a very strong chance that there would be a significant reduction in the number of fatalities in the industry in 2018.