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Farming Minister George Eustice: Making farming a safer industry for all

The number of work-related incidents and fatalities on farms makes our industry one of the most dangerous to work in.

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Farming Minister George Eustice: Making farming a safer industry for all

Being around unpredictable livestock and heavy machinery means farmers are 18 times more likely to be fatally injured at work than the average industry worker.

 

An average of 32 people are killed in the industry each year, meaning a farm worker tragically dies on average every 11 days.

 

These deeply troubling numbers have prompted positive change. Farm safety partnerships are important initiatives which are raising awareness of good workplace practices to ensure the safety of workers.

 

They create a forum where people from different farming sectors can come together and learn from each other how best we can all help to make farms safer places to live and work.

 

Last month I met Jane Gurney, who set up the Tilly Your Trailer scheme, which is making a real difference to the lives of farmers across the country.

 

The scheme was set up by Jane in memory of her son, Harry, who was killed in an accident on the farm where he worked due to a fault with the brakes on the trailer he was towing.

 

Harry’s employer was convicted of health and safety offences in relation to poor maintenance of the vehicle.


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Had the farm been complying with health and safety law, the vehicle brakes would have been properly maintained and the accident, in all likelihood, would have been prevented.

 

Tilly Your Trailer is a voluntary scheme which offers trailer owners the opportunity to register for yearly inspections and get certificates to show they are fully competent and maintained to a high standard.

 

The law requires farmers to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition at all times, so this scheme can support farmers in complying with these rules.

 

So far, more than 1,000 farmers have received these certificates and many more have signed up. Jane is also working with Harper Adams University to spread the message about farm safety through her own personal story.

Day-to-day, there is more we can all do to make farming a safer industry. Small steps, such as using a contractor to do roofing work instead of attempting it yourself, or removing your keys from the ignition when you are down on the ground, can make a big difference to your safety and those you work with.

 

Many of the tragedies which happen on farms are all too avoidable.

 

We can make things less dangerous by reminding ourselves of the risks, and checking to see whether there is a safer option out there.

 

Official guidance is available on the Health and Safety Executive website – a hugely useful resource – and more information about the excellent Tilly Your Trailer scheme is on the campaign website Tillypass.co.uk.

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