The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), also now in its seventh year, is a collaboration between agricultural stakeholder organisations in Wales.
Working closely with the other UK FSPs, the WFSP is tackling head-on the need to raise awareness of the tragic repercussions when farm businesses don’t implement safe working systems across all areas of their business.
This summer, WFSP members are running a campaign which will focus on the safe use of ATVs. With five of the 32 (16%) worker fatal incidents on GB farms due to ATVs there is a growing need to create awareness around just how dangerous these essential farm vehicles can be. WFSP will adopt a multi-pronged approach in a bid to reach all age groups and all sectors of the industry. Plans include WFSP member the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, contacting ATV suppliers in Wales, including every trade stand exhibiting ATVs at next weeks Royal Welsh Show. They will all be asked to promote key messages about the need for all vehicles to be regularly checked and maintained; for drivers to be competent; appropriately trained and of the need to wear a helmet.
“A wide range of land based training courses relating to health and safety are available, either subsidised by up to 80% for all farm businesses registered with Farming Connect, so this is one of the key areas WFSP will promote,” says Ceredigion farmer Glyn Davies, an approved Farming Connect farm safety mentor.
Glyn is one of the WFSP’s two recently appointed ‘ambassadors’. Together with well-known television farming presenter Alun Elidyr, their joint task is to reach out to both individuals and rural groups at a local level, persuading Welsh farm businesses to ‘stop, think and put the right systems in place’ to reduce the high risk of agricultural incidents.
This autumn, in addition to attending all the key agricultural shows in Wales, some of Farming Connect’s approved health and safety mentors will address various Farming Connect events, ensuring farm safety is discussed at a local level. The WFSP hopes this will lead to increased take-up of its fully-funded, confidential, on-farm mentoring programme.
“There is so much that farm businesses can do to help themselves, without incurring costs or even spending a lot of time, so we will do everything we can to encourage them to protect themselves, their families, workers and all those who visit their farms.
“We were delighted that WFSP’s hard hitting tv advertising campaign, aired on S4C, resulted in more awareness, widespread discussion on social media and more individuals seeking advice on how to reduce risks within their own business,” said Alun Elidyr.
He added that the collaborative approach adopted by the WFSP is helping ensure that farm safety is now openly discussed within many families and is hopeful that this will lead to safer working practices.
Glyn adds: “Setting up WFSP social media Facebook and Twitter accounts, a press, media and television advertising campaign and Farming Connect’s training and mentoring programme are all helping us get our messages out into rural communities and is the way we aim to bring about change.”
For more information about the Wales Farm Safety Partnership visit www.nfu-cymru.org.uk/cross-sector/health-and-safety/wales-farm-safety-partnership-booklet/