Devon Young Farmers has launched a farm safety campaign which is now set to be rolled out across the country, following the tragic death of one of its own members, writes Charlotte Cunningham.
“Very sadly, in March, Lauren Scott was killed in an accident by what we believe to be a PTO shaft,” explained Nick Creasy, Devon YFC county organiser.
“I’ve seen too many of our members killed or seriously injured – we needed to do something substantial and try and make a difference.”
With more farm fatalities in Devon and Cornwall than any other part of the UK, the ‘Growing Safer Farmers’ initiative was officially launched at the Devon County Show last week.
This followed a meeting in April among the biggest machinery dealers in the South West to discuss how they could work collaboratively to reduce farm incidents and deaths.
With time and cost being the main reasons that farm safety is often overlooked, Devon YFC proposed new measures be introduced by both dealerships and independent mechanics to make safety more accessible across the board.
So far, over 20 dealers and mechanics have agreed to and begun to implement:
The campaign has received royal backing, with HRH the Countess of Wessex appearing at the launch last week.
It now looks set to be implemented throughout the country.
“This is a great initiative and something I’ll be working with Devon YFC to roll out nationally,” said Ed Ford, NFYFC chairman.
“As a federation, we have the power to go to the big firms and say that this is something they need to get behind.”
While farmers were aware of the implications of inadequate safety measures, they were still being unsafe, said Rob Pearce, principle inspector for the Health and Safety Executive.
“The biggest influence in the farming industry is the young farmers,” he added.
“On moral grounds, we should be saying enough is enough – health and safety needs to be a part of something farmers do every day.”