Fighting against farm fatalities

February 28, 2017

The dangers of farming have been brought to life for agriculture students at Chichester College.

The Farm Safety Foundation put the students through their paces at the college’s Brinsbury campus, where they took part in thought-provoking workshops designed to make them realise the risks in the workplace.

During the LANTRA accredited Introduction to Farm Safety training session, the students were taken out of the classroom and put into different ‘accident’ scenes, to reflect four of the most common causes of farming fatalities or injuries: overhead power lines, machinery (PTO), working with livestock (crush injuries) and pedestrians struck by moving transport.

In groups they had to work out what happened, debate what immediate action should be taken – including deciding first aid implications – and explore what measures should be taken to prevent the accident happening in the future.

Dan Stamper, farm manager at Brinsbury, said: “Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries, which is why we take farm safety so seriously when it comes to educating our students.

“Statistics tell us the number of accidents and fatalities is extremely high – but many of them could be avoided.

“The workshops have been brilliant – the students have been guided through the scenarios, seeing the risks first hand which can help them to protect themselves in the future.

“They all knew what they were doing, but the scenes made it real for them and I think helped them realise their responsibilities.”

According to RIDDOR figures, a farmer is six times more likely to die in the workplace than a construction worker. Agriculture accounts for 1.5% of the working population in the UK but 15-20% of all workplace fatalities.

The Farm Safety Foundation was established by NFU Mutual in 2014 to help raise awareness of farming safety in young farmers and to change attitudes towards farming safely, with the ultimate aim of reducing injuries and fatalities.

Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Campaign Specialist for the Farm Safety Foundation, added: “It’s 2017 and the problem of accidents on farms is not going away. We are not naïve enough to believe we can solve this entirely, but by digging deeper into the detail and engaging with the younger farmer we have found that significant improvements in behaviour are possible.

“As the farmers of the future, young people with a solid knowledge of safe working practices will have a greater capability to make informed and safe decisions, which stands the industry in greater stead. The students we engaged with at Brinsbury are about to start their journey into agriculture, so it is really reassuring when they are so vocal, knowledgeable and passionate about the industry and the risks they will face on a daily basis.

“Working closely with highly committed colleges like Chichester College and with mentors like Dan Stamper, it is hoped that together we can make a difference and change attitudes to health and safety in tomorrow’s farming community.”

For more information on the Farm Safety Foundation please visit http://www.yellowwellies.org/