It is essential that all farmers take a proactive role in promoting farm safety and by putting health and safety issues at the top of their agenda. Here are some top tips for staying safe while on the farm from FBD Insurance.
While farmer’s attitudes to health and safety are generally very positive a change in safety culture and behaviour is critical if we are to achieve a reduction in farm accidents.
The main causes of serious accidents and fatalities on farms are tractors and machinery, livestock, falls from heights and slurry hazards.
Here are some of top tips for improving safety on your farm:
- Carry out a risk assessment of your farm and complete the Agricultural Code of Practice Risk Assessment Document or a Safety Statement and ensure everybody who works on your farm reads and understands it.
- Only competent persons should be allowed to operate tractors and all tractors must be maintained in a safe working condition. Children must be at least 14 years old, have received adequate training and be under the supervision of a responsible adult before they are allowed drive a tractor. (They must be 16 years of age and hold at least a provisional driving licence before they can drive in a public place).
- Check that all machine guards (especially the PTO shaft) are maintained in good condition and replaced if damaged or missing.
- Ensure that all livestock are handled in a safe manner and that safe handling facilities are used.
- Check that all slurry tanks and lagoons are covered or fenced off safely as this will prevent death by drowning or asphyxiation. Only agitate on windy days and wait at least 30 minutes after agitating before entering the shed.
- Ensure that safe building practices are implemented for any building work being carried out. (An advisory booklet on safe farm building practices is available from your local FBD office.)
- Create a safe play area for children and never allow young children unaccompanied on the farm.
- Take extra precautions to ensure the safety of elderly farmers when handling livestock and when they are working near or with machinery.
Serious accidents always lead to heartache and pain, but they can also cause financial ruin. This is why it is imperative that you not only farm safely, but that you also ensure that you have adequate insurance in place to protect yourself from financial hardship and give yourself peace of mind.
FBD strongly recommend that all farmers ensure that they have adequate Personal Accident, Employers Liability and Public Liability cover in place.
For more information on farm insurance visit the FBD website or drop in to your local FBD office.