Farmers have been warned they must stop putting themselves in situations of ‘unnecessary risk’ to rid the perception farming is ‘inherently dangerous’.
This was the call from NFU vice-president Guy Smith as part of the union’s collaboration event with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week to encourage all farmers to get to grips with health and safety within the sector.
Key themes from the day included a need to establish personal behaviour – are you a planner or a risk-taker? – before looking at working on the surrounding culture and language used.
Speaking at the event, Mr Smith said: “It is particularly disheartening most of these accidents involve similar and reoccurring circumstances such as working in enclosed spaces with animals or on live machinery.
“In most instances, it only takes a bit of thought or simple precaution to make safe what could be a fatal or life-changing situation.”
Going forward, Mr Smith called on delegates to adjust their mindset and learn from each other – including past mistakes.
He championed young farmers for ‘leading the way’ on farm safety but urged more needed to be done in risk management, training and development.
Taking to Twitter throughout the event, Hertfordshire cereal and beef farmer Stuart Roberts said: “Construction had the same safety culture as farming 15 years ago.
“We cannot afford to take 15 years to catch up.”
It came as the Farm Safety Foundation teamed up with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to encourage agricultural students to challenge the attitudes to risk in everyday farm settings.
SRUC lecturers tailored each course to meet farm safety criteria and set up four CSI-style farm incident scenes, where students spent about 20 minutes assessing the situation and worked on preventative action for future scenarios.
Graeme Ligertwood, chairman of the Education Division Health and Safety committee at SRUC, added: “Working with the Farm Safety Foundation, we are determined to reduce the number of accidents taking place on Scottish farms by providing practical, hard-hitting training which instils a deep understanding of the need to safe working which will stay with students throughout their careers.”