We all know that farming is a hazardous occupation. The industry represents approximately 1.8% of the workforce in Great Britain but accounts for about 19% of the reported fatal injuries each year. The four most common types of accident on farms involve vehicles and machinery, falls from heights, lifting and handling and hazardous substances. The rate of self-reported illness in agriculture is also significantly higher than the average for all industries.
The chance of problems occurring can be reduced with careful attention to the health and safety rules that govern farming. Doing so can significantly help reduce the personal, social and financial costs of accidents.
Some of the main areas of health and safety risks in farming are found in:
- Buildings (and in particular falls from height, working in confined spaces and construction of new buildings)
- Hazardous chemicals (and compliance with COSHH regs 2002)
- Livestock handling (specifically poultry, pigs, sheep, cattle and bulls)
- Machinery and vehicles (including use on the public highway)
- Public safety (eg rights of way, livestock, children, spray drift)
These risks can be alleviated very significantly if health and safety risk assessments are undertaken and then followed in practice. Agriculture has a good number of migrant workers whose first language may well not be English. This is where training and induction is so important. In the event of an accident or emergency then knowing the procedure to follow can get help quickly. Farm workers are often fairly isolated and so the need for proven emergency procedures is all the more vital.
At Longfields we work hard with our clients to ensure risks are understood and then mitigated as far as possible. There is a lot of relevant advice available to help avoid incidents and the Longfields team has a wealth of experience in farm insurance and identification of risk. Although we pride ourselves on supporting our clients pro-actively when a claim arises, it is much better if a claim never happened in the first place. The primary purpose of good risk management must be to ensure that nobody is killed or injured on our farms. A welcome secondary benefit is it helps to keep premiums down!