Being safe on farm should be a priority at all times

Being safe on farm and reducing the high level of life changing incidents should be a priority for all who live and set foot on farm holdings.

In the last ten years, 388 farmers, their family members or farm workers have been killed on British farms and of these, 38 were in Wales.

Since the start of the year 30 people have been killed on farms across the UK, and three out of the last four of those deaths were caused by cattle.

Sadly, on average, two workers are killed and over 100 injured each year by cattle and there are also large numbers of minor incidents and near misses that we do not hear about and many

serious accidents are not reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Of course, handling cattle always involves a risk of injury from crushing, kicking, butting or goring and the risk is greater if the animals have not been handled frequently, such as those from hills or moorland, sucklers or newly calved cattle.

Certain jobs may increase the risk as well, such as veterinary work and attempting to carry out stock tasks on unrestrained cattle or with makeshift equipment is particularly hazardous.

Advice from HSE suggests that sensible health and safety is about managing risks, not eliminating them, which is why, they argue that every farm that handles cattle should have a decent handling system.

HSE research indicates that 47 per cent of injuries are due to inadequate facilities. Of course, collecting pens, the forcing pen and race should be designed to promote cattle movement while protecting workers from crushing.

Further good practise ensures gates being properly hung so that they can be opened fully against a pen wall and it is suggested that round posts are best, with hinges and other protrusions minimised.

But even with all of the best advice and intentions, given the latest examples of farm fatalities, I urge you ‐ please never underestimate the risk from cattle, even with good precautions in place and be safe on farm.

‘Saving lives and livelihoods’ ‐ Welsh farmers urged to make their farms safer places to work and reduce the risks of accidents with support from Farming Connect

Farming Connect will deliver two half‐day training workshops in partnership with the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP) during October to help farmers and foresters reduce the risks of accidents and help them make their farm or forestry businesses safer places to work for themselves, their families and their workers.

The events are part of an ongoing awareness campaign launched earlier this summer by the WFSP, a collaboration of all the key agricultural stakeholders in Wales, who are working together to reduce the tragically high statistics of farm fatalities and injuries in Wales year on year.

Delivered by Farming Connect, the next half‐day training events will take place from 1pm to 4pm on:

Wednesday, October 24 ‐ IBERS, Gogerddan, Aberystwth University, SY23 3EB

Thursday, October 25 ‐ Great Tre Rhew Farm, Llanvetherine, Abergavenny, NP7 8RA

They will each comprise a series of short, practical demonstrations or presentations covering topics including the general farm safety which will also address child safety; safe handling of livestock; working safely at heights; operating all‐terrain vehicles and farm machinery including lift trucks and tractors, and the handling of dangerous chemicals.

Booking for a ‘Saving lives and livelihoods’ farm safety awareness event is essential either online at www.gov.wales/farmingconnect or by calling the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813.

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