Farm­ers urged to make ac­tive choices on safety

Safe stop pro­ce­dure key dur­ing har­vest op­er­a­tions

The Galloway News - - FARMING REVIEW - Stu­art McFar­lane

Farm­ers are be­ing urged to make safety their pri­or­ity af­ter Scot­land was re­vealed to have one of the poor­est records in the UK.

The warn­ing has been de­liv­ered by Farm Safety Part­ner­ship Scot­land, who will be fo­cus­ing on dif­fer­ent types of farm­ing ac­tiv­ity every quar­ter to en­sure that those work­ing on the na­tion’s farms hear key mes­sages and learn about what they can do to im­prove their safety.

It fol­lows on from Farm Safety Week in July and fig­ures which showed that 33 peo­ple died across the UK in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor last year, with six of those tak­ing place in Scot­land.

NFU Scot­land Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Scott Walker said: “One death or in­jury on Scot­land’s farms and crofts is frankly one too many and as an in­dus­try we need to take ac­tion to make a con­scious ef­fort to put our safety, and that of those liv­ing and work­ing around us as a pri­or­ity.

“Whether it is car­ry­ing out main­te­nance to a roof, check­ing over a ma­chine, or work­ing in a field with power lines, in­juries and deaths through ac­ci­dents most of the time are preventable by tak­ing sim­ple steps and pre­cau­tions.

“This cam­paign en­cour­ages farm­ers and crofters to make a point of en­sur­ing their work­ing en­vi­ron­ment is safe to help us work to­gether to re­duce the death and in­jury toll on our farms and crofts.”

The most com­mon causes of death in the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try con­tin­ues to in­volve falls, trans­port, an­i­mals and equip­ment, with farm­ers in har­vest be­ing urged to utilise the ‘Safe Stop’ method when work­ing with ma­chin­ery or ve­hi­cles - hand­brake on, con­trols in neu­tral, en­gine off, keys out.

The sta­tis­tics show that over the last five years 38 peo­ple have been killed in the UK by a mov­ing ve­hi­cle; 12 peo­ple have been killed by con­tact with ma­chin­ery; 10 have been killed by as­phyx­i­a­tion or drown­ing, in­clud­ing in grain stores or pits and slurry pits and eight peo­ple have been killed by con­tact with elec­tric­ity.

And the data does not take into ac­count the num­ber of in­juries on Scot­land’s farms and crofts, a num­ber that is be­lieved to be sig­nif­i­cantly higher.

Mr Walker added: “This au­tumn, it is about Your Safety, Your Choice, and as the darker nights draw in, and many are rush­ing to get the job done it is im­por­tant to take a step back to make sure you are work­ing safely.”

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