Creating safe farms to work on is no accident

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News article

Creating safe farms to work on is no accident

February 2016

agriculture, farm safety

Agriculture is a dangerous business to be in and it's devastating to hear of injuries and, in the worst cases, fatalities.

Health and safety is something that we all need to know about and act upon to try to prevent the worst happening.  There is a whole raft of guidance and further details on the HSE website and if in doubt, seek some advice.  If something did happen and the correct policies and procedures are not in place the penalties can be very severe.

If you are an employer you will have heard of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  This is the primary piece of legislation in the UK governing workplace health, safety and walfare.  It established a system of supervision through the creation of the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive (now merged) and bestows extensive enforcement powers, ultimately backed by criminal sanctions extending to unlimited fines and in worst case scenarios, imprisonment.

As employers, therefore, you must ensure that you are fulfilling your duty, as far as 'reasonably practicable', of the health, safety and welfare of your employees.  This includes, among others, ensuring that plant and machinery are safe to use, providing induction to work processes, training and supervision of employees, maintaining the work place in a safe condition, without risks and ensuring that there are sufficient welfare facilities at work.

For instance, do your workers have proper chainsaw training or working at height training? Do they know how to handle the farm machinery properly and are they able to handle livestock? Is your machinery in good order and has it been serviced properly?

On the other side, employees are under a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others, and to co-operate with their employer in the performance of their duties. 

As part of the requirement to maintain the workplace in a safe condition, having a risk assessment in place is an important step.  It focuses on the risks in the workplace and weighs up whether you have taken enough precautions or whether more needs to be done to prevent harm.  Broadly, it identifies the hazards, who those hazards can harm, evaluates the risks and looks at precautions and then records findings.  Workplaces are always changing so it's important that these assessments are reviewed regularly.

For further information, please contact Rachel Kirk MRICS FAAAV on 01244 409678 or email here

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