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Farmers urged to take heed of farm safety advice amid school closures

Farmers have been urged to implement stricter safety measures on-farm as schools close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Farmers urged to take heed of farm safety advice amid school closures

While food producers are classed as key workers, which means children can still attend school, the Government has strongly advised they should be kept at home if possible.

 

Now the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF) has warned there must be a ‘clear focus’ in supporting young people who will be spending longer time on family farms.

 

Stephanie Berkeley, manager of the charity, claimed farmers need to take ‘responsibility’ for their family’s safety and ensure no accidents occur.

 

She said: “With the increased threat of the spread of coronavirus, the Government realises that this is no joke, and so should we.”


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The move comes as farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK, which saw two children among the 39 people killed on farms last year.

 

Safety guides

 

FSF is continuing to deliver safety measures to children and has written two new safety guides – one for agricultural students and one for parents.

 

The guides have been sent to all rural primary schools, land-based colleges/universities and national Young Farmers Clubs to be shared with their pupils, students and members.

 

Reminder

 

Ms Berkeley said the foundation will be using their social media channels, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to share farm safety reminders over the coming weeks.

 

She added: “We do not know how long this situation will last and our wonderful NHS workers are already feeling the strain of dealing with the spread of COVID-19.

 

“We need to take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones and not risk any of us having a farm accident that will add to a workforce already under pressure.”

 

Managed

 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also reminded farmers that children should be kept safely away from any work activities.

 

HSE’s acting head of agriculture Adrian Hodkinson, said: “We should always separate our work life from our home life and farming should be no different to any other job.

 

"Farms are full of hazards, for example vehicles and other machines, large animals, deep lagoons, a variety of chemicals and hazardous dusts – they are not a place for children, unless risk is very carefully managed."

 

Mr Hodkinson highlighted it was also important to prevent ’avoidable’ injuries and issues in order to reduce ’burdening’ the NHS at a time of extreme pressure, adding: "Farm work should stop immediately if an unsupervised child appears in any work area.”

 

Information and guidance

 

For more information on the Farm Safety Foundation, click here.

Guidance on keeping children safe on the farm can also be found here.

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