Saving Lives & Livelihoods – The View From Wales

Wales Farm Safety Partnership Chair, Brian Rees is one of the UK’s most well-respected trainers on farm safety, and in this blog, he looks at what is being done in Wales to save lives and livelihoods…

“In the last ten years, 388 farmers, their family members or farm workers have been killed on British farms and of these, 38 were in Wales. Thousands more have suffered serious injuries which still impact daily and changed lives forever.

It gives me immense pride to chair the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), a collaboration between all the key organisations representing agriculture and allied industries in Wales. We are determined to reduce these stubbornly high statistics and, in collaboration with Farming Connect, we have arranged a series of ‘Saving lives and livelihood’ events with the aim of:
• Delivering key health and safety messages
• Providing advice and knowledge on specific on-farm situations

We know that most farmers are aware that farms can be dangerous places to work, but all too often they do not give real consideration to the steps they need to take to reduce the risk of injury or death.

At these events, we want to arm farmers with practical information on how to reduce the risk of working on every-day tasks.

Did you know that you are 6 times more likely to be killed on a farm than on a building site?

This industry has some way to go to improve on this statistic. At our ‘Saving lives and livelihood’ events, we concentrate on three main elements:

Working with Livestock
We provide practical tips on how to avoid injury or death when working with livestock. In particular:
• You should have proper handling facilities, which you keep in good working order;
• You should have a race and a crush suitable for the animals you handle;
• You should have trained and competent workers; and
• You should have a rigorous culling policy for temperamental animals.

Safe use of ATVs
Carrying out the following will help you reduce the risk of injury or death:
• make sure all riders receive adequate training and wear a safety helmet;
• carry out safety checks and maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, e.g. regularly check tyre pressures, brakes and throttle;
• secure loads on racks and make sure they are not over loaded or unevenly balanced;
• always read and follow the owner’s manual;
• stick to planned routes, where possible, and walk new routes if necessary to check for hidden obstructions, hollows or other hazards;
• take extra care with trailed or mounted equipment and understand how they affect stability;
• Never carry passengers on a quid bike;

Safe use of machinery
The most important message for all to consider is that you must use the correct machinery for the task being carried out and always follow the ‘Safe Stop’ procedure;
Key take home messages:
• Plan you work, so that risks are kept to a minimum;
• Make sure all operators are trained and competent;
• Always use the correct equipment to carry out a job, i.e. a telehandler with the correct capacity for the job etc.,
• Make sure all equipment is properly guarded and maintained in good working order;

This Farm Safety Week we are asking you to get involved…  It’s your Health, Your Safety. Your Choice!

The next ‘Saving Lives and Livelihood’ events will be:
Tuesday 28 August 2018 Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
Wednesday 29 August 2018 Rhuthin Livestock Market, Rhuthin

For more information or to book your place, visit Farming Connect or phone the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813

Further support will be available in Wales through the Farming Connect mentoring programme, where a mentor will be able to provide guidance on health and safety issues on your farm

stephanie_berkeley_zl4u2oa9Saving Lives & Livelihoods – The View From Wales