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Farming in the Spotlight as Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Launches its 2019 Inspection Initiatives
25 February 2019

With the HSE announcing that farms will come under scrutiny, being compliant with health and safety is more important than ever.

In the figures announced for 2017/2018, the agricultural sector faced the highest rate of workplace injury across all sectors. Of the 144 workers fatally injured, 29 worked in agriculture.

An HSE inspection can occur without notice and this can have serious consequences. This year the HSE has announced it will be particularly looking at how risk is being controlled in the following areas:

  •  Vehicle and machinery

The majority of farm vehicle fatalities occur as a result of overturns when working on slopes or collisions with pedestrians. Always make sure you properly plan farming operations and ensure machinery is suitable for the task.

  • Falls from height

Falls are the second highest cause of death in agriculture. Most incidents can be avoided if risks are identified and managed in advance. Work on fragile roofs is particularly dangerous so always take the correct precautions and do not take any risks when planning any works at high level.

  • Livestock

Ensure that you have good handling facilities in place and that workers are fit and able to undertake the work. Where possible, select fields without public rights of way for bulls or cattle that have calves. We are expecting the Small Capital Grants Scheme to re-open later in the year which can partly fund certain new livestock handling equipment.

  • Children

Children should always be supervised to make sure they are kept away from danger. Always ensure they are kept away from machinery and vehicles.

As with any sector, working in agriculture has its risks. However, having clear procedures and planning ahead allows for that risk to be managed. The HSE’s message is clear – pay closer attention to how you manage risks in the workplace or face a potentially serious penalty.

Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying, comments “the advice is to always plan ahead for any kind of works, whether you are erecting new buildings or extensions or just simple everyday maintenance. When you employ contractors, always ensure they are competent and have the skills to do the job. There is plenty of guidance available on the HSE website to ensure you have systems in place to reduce the risk of an accident occurring.”

To discuss this matter in more detail or find out how Robinson & Hall’s Architecture & Building Surveying department can help you, please call Robert Franklin.

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