The shocking headline ‘You are looking at the person responsible for your own health and safety’ next to a mirror which reflects your own image, a new farm safety ‘top tips’ booklet and a team of trained farm safety mentors who will visit your farm and enable you to make your farm a safer place to work…
These are some of the hard-hitting tactics and tools which the Wales Farm Safety Partnership hope will challenge attitudes to farm safety and drive behaviour change. The new awareness campaign being launched this week and supported by Farming Connect will reinforce this week’s key message – that farming safely is your health, your safety, your choice!
WFSP members are, again, supporting Farm Safety Week and are determined to drive home the message that if you don’t take responsibility for your own farm safety, you could be risking your own life and the lives and wellbeing of others. As Chair of the WFSP, mid-Wales farmer and Health & Safety expert Brian Rees emphasises, it’s not just the victims who suffer, it’s their distraught families whose lives change irrevocably too.
“There are an average 32 deaths a year on British farms. A tragic 32 lives are over too soon, and 32 families are living with the consequences every day. Hundreds more individuals have life-changing injuries year on year.
“This new campaign will help persuade farmers to face up to their responsibilities, to consider not just their own safety, but that of their families and workers too.
“We must encourage all farmers to Stop, Think, Stay Safe and to take steps which will ensure their farms are safe places to work,” says Mr. Rees.
Helping farmers put this advice into practice, will be Farming Connect’s team of newly appointed Health & Safety Mentors. Part of Farming Connect’s popular mentoring programme, they will provide up to 22.5 hours of fully-funded, confidential, on-farm guidance to help farmers identify risks and eliminate hazards. Eligible farmers will be able to browse the profiles of the new mentors on Farming Connect’s online mentor directory (www.gov.wales/farmingconnect) with a filter enabling them to identify those with specialist H&S expertise.
The campaign will also be promoted by all WFSP partners attending next week’s Royal Welsh Show. In the Welsh Government pavilion, a hard-hitting message and mirror display will ask farmers to ‘look yourself in the face’ and be honest about whether they’re actually doing all they should to preserve life and limb.
Visitors will also be encouraged to pick up a free copy of WFSP’s ‘Top tips to make your farm a safer place to work’. Published by Farming Connect, the cover of this handy pocket-sized booklet shows a powerful image of Abergavenny farmer Robin Foord, who ten years ago lost his leg in a horrendous combine harvester accident and who is lending his support to the new campaign.
“It’s essential to do all we can to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of what can happen if you don’t adopt safe on-farm practices.
“I wasn’t complacent, I wasn’t deliberately running a ‘calculated’ risk, but if I’d practised the ‘Safe Stop’ procedure set out in the WFSP’s new booklet, or had one of the new Farming Connect Health & Safety experts visit my farm, life may have been be very different.
“For me, saving a few minutes by not switching off the combine to carry out a standard procedure on an unfamiliar machine changed not only my life but that of my wife and family irrevocably,” said Mr.Foord.
“Life cannot be the same after a major life-changing accident, so I urge you to put your family first, leave the WFSP booklet on your kitchen table and seek free advice from one of Farming Connect’s mentors to make sure you are running a safe farm business.”
For more information visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnect or contact the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813