Please stop, think, stay safe

Challenging and changing the attitudes of farmers in Wales – new campaign aims to reduce the risks of life-ending or life-changing farm accidents

The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), of which the FUW is a long standing partner, took a new approach to highlighting the need for farmers to make safety on farm a priority at the recent Royal Welsh Show.

launching its new campaign – ‘You are looking at the person responsible for your own health and safety’ – had farmers take a look in to a mirror and highlighted the need for them to take responsibility for their own farm safety.

A new farm safety ‘top tips’ booklet that contains a powerful image of an Abergavenny farmer who lost his leg in a combine harvester accident was also launched and a team of trained farm safety mentors who will now visit your farm and enable you to make your farm a safer place to work was also added to the overall approach.

The WFSP hopes that this new approach will challenge attitudes to farm safety and drive behaviour change – getting farmers to rethink their attitude to safety and remind them that farming safely is about their health, their safety, their choice.

The recent Health & Safety Executive Workplace Fatal injuries in GB report 2017/2018 notes 33 fatalities, of which 29 were farm worker fatalities. Their statistics show a farm worker is now six times more likely to be killed on a farm than a building site. But unlike the UK construction industry, which has significantly reduced workforce casualty rates by making building sites safer places to work, farming has yet to catch up.

Chair of the WFSP, mid Wales farmer and H&S expert Brian Rees emphasises, it’s not just the victims who suffer, it’s their distraught families whose lives change irrevocably too.

“There are an average 32 deaths a year on British farms. A tragic 32 lives are over too soon, and 32 families are living with the consequences every day. Hundreds more individuals have life-changing injuries year on year.

“This new campaign will help persuade farmers to face up to their responsibilities, to consider not just their own safety, but that of their families and workers too.

“We must encourage all farmers to Stop, Think, Stay Safe and to take steps which will ensure their farms are safe places to work,” said Brian Rees.

Helping farmers put this advice into practice, will be Farming Connect’s team of newly appointed Health & Safety Mentors. Part of Farming Connect’s popular mentoring programme, they will provide up to 22.5 hours of fully- funded, confidential, on-farm guidance to help farmers identify risks and eliminate hazards.

Eligible farmers will be able to browse the profiles of the new mentors on Farming Connect’s online mentor directory (www.gov.wales/farmingconnect) with a filter enabling them to identify those with specialist H&S expertise.

General Farm safety advice:

Machinery related accidents are a major cause of death and serious injury in farming. Before using, or allowing others to use a machine, check that all guards are in good condition and in place.

in particular make sure that:

* You do not use a machine that has damaged or missing guards.
* The PTo drive shaft is fully protected by properly designed guards and secured by chain to prevent the guard rotating.
* All machinery guards are strong enough and securely attached.
* Guards are regularly checked and maintained in effective working order.
* Never carry out any machinery maintenance work or clear blockages whilst the machine is running.
* Always follow Safe Stop if you need to remove guards for repairs and maintenance. * Always replace the guard before restarting the machine.

Many serious incidents on farms happen during maintenance work. Always make sure that:

* You select the right equipment for the job.
* Don’t be tempted to take short cuts or use inappropriate equipment.
* if you need to raise vehicles or equipment to work on it, plan the job carefully.

For instance:

* Do you know its weight and the capacity of your lifting equipment?
* is the load balanced?
* Are the integral lifting points in sound condition?
* if there are no purpose made lifting or jacking points, is the point you use suitable for a stable lift? * What additional supports will you need?

if you need to work beneath raised equipment do not rely on the lifting equipment or hydraulics alone – use the correct mechanical devices such as stops or braces.

Never work beneath a vehicle that is only supported on jacks; use axle stands that are in good condition and suitably rated for the load.

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