FARMeRS and those working in the agricultural industry need to ensure that farm safety remains on their priority list for the coming year and that they comply with the relevant health and safety regulations, the FUW warns.
The warning follows a reminder from the health and Safety executive (hSe) that a programme of inspections will review health and safety standards on farms across the country, and that the inspections will soon begin.
According to the hSe, the inspections will ensure those
responsible for protecting themselves and workers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health. If they are not hSe will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.
FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer huw Jones, who represents the FUW at the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, said: “33 people were killed in agriculture across Britain in 2017/18 – around 18 times higher than the all industry fatal injury rate.
“That means 33 families have lost a loved one. We also know that in the last ten years, almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agricultural work and many more have been seriously injured or made ill by their work. Statistics further show that nearly half of the agricultural workers killed were over 65.
“Life is never the same again for family members left behind after a work-related death, or for those looking after someone with a long-term illness or serious injury caused by their work.
“With this in mind, the union remains committed to highlighting best practices to help farmers avoid becoming a farm accident or fatality statistic but it can’t be stressed enough that the person responsible for farm safety is the person in the mirror.
“There are some bad examples out in the public eye with regards to farm safety, so as you start a new year on the farm – make the promise to yourself and your family that farm safety – your safety and that of your family and co-workers – will be a top priority.”
HSE has a range of resources and guides available to help employers and employees improve health and safety on farms. More information on what topics the inspectors will be looking at when they visit farms can be found on www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture
Health and Safety Executive Advice on the use of ATVs
ATVs such as quad bikes are designed to cope with a wide variety of off-road conditions, but if used care- lessly can very rapidly become unstable.
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 suitable helmet when riding a quad bike.
The long seat on a quad bike allows operators to shift their body weight backwards and forwards for different slope conditions, a technique known as ‘active’ riding. It is not for carrying passengers.
To help reduce the risks:
* carry out safety checks and maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, eg regularly check tyre pressures, brakes and throttle;
* secure loads on racks and make sure they are not over loaded and evenly balanced;
* always read and follow the owner’s manual;
* stick to planned routes, where possible, and walk new routes if necessary to check for hidden obstructions, hollows or other hazards;
* take extra care with trailed or mounted equipment and understand how they affect stability;
* make sure all riders receive adequate training.
Never carry a child as a passenger; it is illegal and will reduce your ability to control the ATV.
Children under 13 years old are prohibited from using an ATV at work. Over-13s should only ride ATVs – of an appropriate size and power – after formal training on a low-power ATV.