Safety procedures have been thrown under the spotlight across the arable sector this week with the launch of potato harvesting inspections.
Potato growers will be visited by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors during the harvesting period to ensure their workers who grow, pick and process the crop are confident work risk has been controlled and safety measures are in place.
Inspectors will be checking a range of precautions from making sure haulm and clod rollers are properly guarded to ensuring all harvester drivers have been trained and follow the Safe Stop routine.
It came as the HSE shocked the industry when its latest statistics highlighted 30 on-farm deaths in the 2016/17 period.
Rick Brunt, HSE head of agriculture, warned the potato season was a ‘common cause’ of serious injury for farmers with a number of fatalities a result of entanglement with dangerous parts of machinery and falls from height.
He added: “The risks during potato harvesting are well-known but the precautions are straightforward. This inspection initiative is about ensuring those participating in any harvesting activity remain safe and go home from their work healthy.
“HSE is calling on anyone involved with the potato harvesting season to do what they can to reduce the likelihood of incidents on their farms. By following guidance freely-available on the HSE website, farmers will be ensuring that risks are adequately controlled.”
Throughout the inspection initiative, inspectors will be checking: