One year on from the tragic death of a 20 year old Devon Young Farmers member, Nick Creasy Operation Manager for Devon YFC demonstrates what good looks like in the South West and how working together and real partnerships can make a difference and help make our farms safer.
The Growing Safer Farms initiative, lead by Devon YFC, brought together Devon’s machinery dealerships, agriculture engineers, BAGMA (British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association), The Health & Safety Executive, NFU and the Farm Safety Foundation to work on this issue.
The initiative was a combination of delivering training to the farming community on how to improve theirs and others safety and prevent accidents from happening through the Farm Safety Foundation’s Farm Safe Curve module and ensuring farm machinery and equipment is safe to use. In only 12 months the 19 dealerships and agricultural engineers have repaired and replaced over 1,000 PTO shaft guards on farm machinery. The agricultural engineers have been making extra checks as part of a routine on PTO guards when equipment is brought to a workshop, even if this was not the original reason the equipment was brought in for.
According to Nick Creasy;
“We are trying to help improve safety and point out these issues to busy farmers, so they can be confident that those operating the equipment are safe.
“All the partners involved in the initiative have reported a significant increase in repairs and purchases of new guards since the start 12 months ago.”
Rick Brunt, HSE Head of Agriculture added; “The causes of death, ill health and injury in agriculture have not changed in decades and the means to prevent these are well known and straightforward. While it is disappointing that, 60 years after the introduction of legislation requiring PTO guarding, it was still necessary to highlight the need for these guards through the Growing Safer Farms initiative, it is also a commendable that the collective industry effort has resulted in so much equipment being repaired. Devon YFC and all those involved in the initiative are to be applauded for demonstrating industry ownership of the problem and making a real difference. I hope that these efforts will be expanded into all aspects of improving farm safety.”
Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation agreed; “It is fantastic to see the next generation of farmers leading the way in farm safety. Young people are such an important target group for this farm safety message. They are the future of the industry. As technology advances within farming, the risk of accidents can actually increase. It is encouraging that initiatives like Growing Safer Farms can help engage, educate and inspire the industry so we can start to celebrate good, safe working practices and proactively challenge farming’s unacceptable poor safety record.”
The initiative has also received Royal support with the launch in Devon Last year with HRH The Countess of Wessex with alongside Claire Bellew County Chairman at the time. HRH The Prince of Wales also was very supportive when informed of the campaign during the opening of the new Devon Rural Hub in July 2017.
For any further information on Devon YFC or the Growing Safer Farmers initiative visit www.devonyfc.co.uk