Farm safety must remain priority for industry

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 Farmers’ Union of Wales 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 CEO 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 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.”