Avoiding injuries when working on farms

The most common causes of injuries on farms are statistically those caused by farm vehicles over-turning or impacting with pedestrians, so let’s begin with those. At the heart of any determined effort by a farmer to reduce the chances of such accidents occurring on his farm is a risk management plan drawn up as part of an overarching commitment to workplace health and safety and compliance with his legal obligations in that area.

These are some of the risks and controls that would apply to farm vehicles:

Failure of braking or other mechanical/electrical system: Regular testing and maintenance.

Runaway unmanned vehicle Utilisation of the ‘safe stop’ procedure: brake on, controls in neutral, engine off, keys removed.

Falling objects:

• Protective roof or issue of hard hats.

• Ensure loads do not exceed safe limits and are stable and secured.

Over-turning :

• Do not use on surfaces the vehicle was not designed for.

• Fit roll over protection.

• Do not remove windows or roof from cab.

• Wear provided seat belts.

Pedestrians:

• Separate vehicles from pedestrians where possible.

• Keep loaders or implements fitted at ground level when not moving loads.

Operator:

• Trained, assessed and approved to operate specific vehicle.

• Trained in health and safety and situational awareness.

• Medically fit to drive.

Similar management of risk would apply to the other areas of farm work that are and have historically proven to be hazardous:

Machinery – ensure guards are fitted to exposed moving or hot components to avoid drawing-in or entanglement, burns or friction injuries. Ensure that operators are adequately trained. Ensure machines are correctly installed and maintained and that no fault/blockage rectification is undertaken without guidance.

Livestock – Ensure suitability of handling facilities such as races and crushes. Avoid working with unrestrained larger animals. Cull temperamental animals. Exercise greater care with animals which are only infrequently handled.

Hazardous substances – Avoid use of such substances where possible by changing work processes. Replace with a less or non-hazardous alternative. Improve ventilation. Limit exposure. Keep the workplace clean and tidy to reduce accidental exposure, e.g. tripping over an object and falling into a slurry pit. Issue personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles or respirators as is necessary. Institute health monitoring and install adequate washing facilities.

Although some farmers might believe that they can engage with the health, safety and welfare of themselves and their workers, who are frequently family members, at their own discretion, the unacceptable on-going toll of deaths and serious injuries in the sector, which are actually rising year on year, continues to expose this attitude to be the misguided, often negligent and occasionally lethal one that it actually is.

Sustained an Injury working on a farm? The Work Accident Solicitors can help

Farms are dangerous environments to work in and your employer has a legal duty to protect your well being. Should they fail to discharge their duty of care and you become injured, you should call our work accident compensation team about making a claim.

Call 0808 901 9069

Or email our work accident claim experts via the contact form below:

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