Farmyard Safety: All you need to know
Posted on 1st Apr, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
Farming and agriculture is one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. Livestock, tractors, and chemicals are just some of risk factors that farmers come into contact with on a day-to-day basis.
Dangers on the farm
In the agriculture sector there are 13,000 cases of self-reported work-related illness each year and 14,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries.
The breakdown of workplace injuries is as follows:
- 20% – Slips, trips, and falls
- 14% – Injured by an animal
- 13% – Manual handling
- 13% – Falls from a height
- 11% – Struck by an object
- 10% – Contact with machinery
Common risks and safety tips: Your guide
Risk #1 Falls
There have been many accidents and deaths that have occurred following a fall from a ladder or fragile roof. According to the HSENI, a farmer died after falling from a ladder while building an extension to a farm shed. The ladder wasn’t fit for purpose and instead, the farmer should have used scaffolding or other suitable equipment for the task. Likewise, a 54-year-old farmer died in hospital after falling 6m through a roof of a shed while clearing out guttering. Even though the ladder was secured, the farmer stepped on a roof light as he was working, which resulted in his fall.
Make sure you’re clear on all safety protocols when it comes to working from a height or using access equipment. It’s also essential that you carry out a risk assessment before doing any job of this sort. Consider if there are any better or safer ways to carry out a job and how you can carry each job out safety. Precautions should also be built in to prevent falls.
You can learn more about working safely from a height on one of our courses:
Risk #2 Equipment
Farmers have to work with a range of dangerous equipment – one of which is the tractor. The HSENI describe an all too common accident in which a 34-year-old farm worker was crushed to death under the wheels of a tractor. The accident was a result of a fault handbrake.
Farm equipment is the cause of more than 1 in 3 farm-related deaths.
Be mindful at all times and take care when using equipment. It’s also essential that all equipment is properly maintained to reduce the risk of accident.
With regards to tractors, follow the Safe Stop procedure, to minimise accidents like those described above from occurring. It’s also important to think about the added hazards that may be present from other equipment attached to a tractor.
When handling smaller pieces of equipment, you should also consider proper manual handling, to prevent strain and injury. You can learn more about manual handling on our manual handling course.
Risk #3 Livestock
As one of the largest causes of accidents on the farm, it’s essential that the risk of working with animals is considered. Livestock incidents have resulted in 18 deaths of farmers in Northern Ireland over the last 10 years.
Decide on your approach depending on the animal you’re working with and think about how you will work safely. Appropriate equipment, including proper handling facilities, is key.
Disease from animals is another risk factor, so vaccinate animals as necessary and wear the correct PPE when working with or handling animals.