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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Your guide to farm safety

Farming is considered one of the most hazardous professions in the UK. Even though only 1.8% of the British workforce are part of this industry, it accounts for around 19% of work-related fatal injuries reported each year.

Greater awareness and consistency in safety precautions greatly improve your chances of not becoming part of this statistic. Here are a few ways you can do this:

Carry out risk assessments

Prevention is better than cure, and that’s the whole point of a risk assessment. To do this, you must first identify what the hazards on the farm are. Then, you must assess those risks, look for ways to control them and write this all down. Continually keep risks and safety measures under review.

You should consider what equipment you and any farm workers who report to you use, and how safely they are doing it. Other thins to consider are the chemicals you use and parts of the premises where people might be more likely to slip or fall.

If you are a farm worker who has suffered a serious injury and is considering making an amputation claim or something similar, consider asking your employer if they have done thorough risk assessments.

Farming Accidents

Consistent maintenance

As a farm worker, you’re probably in the habit of operating machinery every day. If you’re the one in charge of this equipment, it’s your duty to yourself and others to keep up with maintenance.

Check the brake lights and indicators of your farm vehicles regularly. They can be quite a hefty presence on the roads, so it’s also important for the sake of the general public.

And don’t forget about any combine harvesters, ploughs, balers and seed drills.

Ensure you have fully shut down all equipment before doing maintenance. You should feel confident about the instructions in the owner’s manual. Build a structured routine for your checks to ensure everything is sorted ahead of crucial parts of the farming calendar.

Don’t just maintain the equipment; maintain the landscape itself too! Before you start to get busy for the harvest season, assess the high-traffic areas for tripping hazards. Chop any low-hanging branches that might reduce visibility when workers are using farm vehicles.

The right level of training

Agricultural employers must also ensure all farm workers have adequate training before they operate machinery.

Industry-recognised external training is a great way to be sure that you or your employees are safe to operate your machinery.

Looking after mental health

With farming being such a thoroughly manual profession, the risk of fatigue is a real one. This can make a worker more prone to mistakes, and if it becomes a long-term issue, it can also contribute to mental health concerns.

Take a break whenever you feel the first signs of fatigue. Even a short, 20-minute break can make a difference. It is much safer to do this than accidentally fall asleep on the job, and it can help with your mental health too.

Foster a collaborative culture with your co-workers so that all of you feel able to be honest with each other when you are feeling under the weather. This means that someone who is feeling better that day can take on the duties that require more concentration.

When farm workers all chip in to make the processes and working environment safer, well-being levels can enjoy a significant boost!

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