In the last ten years almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agricultural work, making it the riskiest industry sector to work in. Agricultural workers also suffer 13,000 non-fatal injuries a year, whilst back pain, sprains and strains are over three times the rate of all other industries. The cost of injuries to agriculture is estimated to be about £190 million a year. The Farm Safety Partnership recently set a target to reduce the number of farming fatalities by at least 50% by summer 2023.
As an industry leader and farmer-owner company Mole Countrystores are in a unique position to make a real difference and influence cultural change within the sector by helping to improve safe working practice on farms. Mole Countrystores recently launched a new initiative that asks farmers to ‘Take A Moment to consider their safety. At the heart of the initiative are the following themes –
Take A Moment to
Health and safety is a fundamental requirement of a sustainable farming business and should be regarded as an essential part of farm business management. As farmers you use management systems to make sure that your crops and animals are kept healthy and productive. You plan what to plant and when, assess the risks of disease and other incidents that may spoil the crop or animal. You control any problems, monitor growth and decide when to harvest. You also work out how successful you have been and come up with improvements. Managing health and safety is no different, you need to manage it to make sure that you, your workers, family members and others are kept safe at work.
Farm Vehicle Safety
The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture involve moving and overturning vehicles. Transport movements in and around the workplace need to be controlled to protect pedestrians and to prevent damage to equipment and buildings. Other incidents happen when people leave a vehicle without making sure it cannot move or cause injury in other ways.
‘Safe Stop’ is the most important safety action of all:
It is sometimes easier to break transport activities into three areas: vehicle, driver and site.
Check that vehicles, machines and handling equipment are capable of safely performing the jobs to be done and are properly maintained. Vehicles should be fitted with roll-over protective structures and seatbelts if there is a risk of overturning. Keys should be kept secure when not in use.
Drivers should be medically fit to drive, properly trained and authorised to drive. Never allow passengers to ride on or in vehicle cabs unless they are sitting on a passenger seat and cannot impede the driver, accidentally make contact with the machine controls or obscure the driver’s vision.
Vehicles and pedestrians should be separated where possible and visiting drivers should be aware of your site rules. Traffic routes should be properly maintained and adequately lit. The need to reverse should be reduced where possible.
Many quad bike fatalities in the UK have been caused by head injuries. Helmets would have prevented most, if not all, of these deaths. You should always wear a helmet when riding a quad bike. Never carry a child as a passenger, it is illegal and will reduce your ability to control the ATV.