Support for farm safety campaign
AGRICULTURE has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK with 20 farm workers losing their lives last year.
However, thanks to a national safety campaign there are signs of improvement.
Last month, the Farm Safety Foundation ran their Yellow Wellies campaign to highlight the need for vigilance in the farming community.
Bob Danby from Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) welcomed the campaign, but said safety “needs considering 52 weeks of the year”
He added: “This year has been a challenge for everyone, but over the last few months, farmers have been recognised as heroes – key workers, playing an essential role for the country.
“In the last year a total of 20 agriculture workers lost their lives on farms, a decrease of 37.5 per cent, but it’s still too many.
“It is no coincidence that the Farm Safety Foundation run their Yellow Wellies farm safety campaign at the start of what is one of the busiest times on most farms.”
He added accidents do happen, more often when people are stressed and tired. The need to stop and think about wellbeing is important.
“When the pressure is on to work long hours, it’s easy to skip meals and put time to rest to the bottom of your priority list, especially when the dreaded black clouds are on the horizon,” said Mr Danby.
“We at Utass want to urge all our farmers to pause before starting a job. Consider the risks, try to plan the work safely. Stop to take proper breaks and eat and drink regularly. That job of delivering refreshments to the field is as important as the busy work going on in the field.
“Our very own Richard Betton knows too well. He and his family paid the ultimate price through a fatal tractor accident to their son William in Australia. It could have been avoided with knowledge and pre-planning.
“We would hate to see any other family have to go through the same heartache.”
Utass is a huge advocate and promoter of training recognising farms are also homes and encourages all of the agricultural community to embrace the training on offer.
He added: “We offer a wide range of training to those aged 13 and above. It’s important to teach children safe working practices.
“Our message is: stop and think, stay safe. Let’s all work to get that figure down again next year.”