HSE and the UK government announced that they would be cracking down this year on farms. This is to ensure that they have adequate health and safety procedures in place. The reason for the crackdown comes after the latest figures showed that at least 33 people had died due to injury on a farm workplace. This was nearly 18x higher than the national industry average, which has sparked debate. The government and the HSE fear that farmers may have neglected health and safety on farms.
HSE and the UK government have claimed that they will conduct inspections on farms. They declared that farms would be under review across the UK in an effort to protect workers. The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that farms are complying with UK law surrounding health and safety. If a farm is operating in an unsafe matter, it could be subjected to heavy fines or even shut down.
In 2018, farmers were informed to prepare for upcoming inspections in the following year. This has given farmers time to improve their standards and tighten up any lax health and safety procedures. The inspections themselves will look at machinery, procedures, equipment and livestock.
The UK Government and the HSE are dedicated to protecting children, which means a crackdown on full time child labor (Sometimes found on family owned farms). The HSE have also stated that the workwear and PPE worn on farm will be included in their inspection. All farm workers would need to be wearing the appropriate protective equipment and clothing. All farms must have had a risk assessment in order to determine the appropriate protective equipment and clothing required. It is very important for farms to equip themselves with PPE and workwear. It is better to be too safe rather than not at all.
KEY AREAS THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE INSPECTED
- Risks from faulty or inadequate machinery
- Risks from poor operational procedures
- Risks from falls, trips and slips
- The use of child workers
- If a living area for livestock is hygienic
- Healthy livestock
Research suggests that health and safety on farms is significantly worse than other workplaces. This could be due a number of factors such as attitude or misinformation. The HSE are clear that all health and safety information is readily available for farms, as well as other workplaces.
As mentioned previously, farms that do not comply are liable for heavy fines. This cost is justified if the inspections can lead to farms tightening procedures and therefore prevent potential injuries and deaths.
In the words of HSE’s head of agriculture, Rick Brunt,
“Farmers, managers and workers are reminded that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming.”