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Focus on farm safety at NFU and HSE summit


In a groundbreaking move, figures from across agriculture and horticulture will gather today (Thursday) at an industry summit that aims to substantially improve farm safety.

The discussions at the summit will draw on the experiences of other industries such as construction while considering the unique challenges that those working in farming face daily. The ultimate aim of the summit is to create an industry-wide coalition which will set about finding tangible ways of improving farm safety and reducing deaths and injuries.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: The unpredictable aspects of farming, such as livestock and weather, together with long hours and working alone, mean that staying safe can be challenging but we must find ways to reduce the number of accidents on farm.

Last year 45 people lost their lives on farms in Great Britain. This statistic is both shocking and saddening. Every fatality and serious injury has a devastating impact on the families and businesses involved.

As an industry that is largely based on strong family ties, we cannot ignore or accept this level of accidents and we must act now to reduce on-farm fatalities, change traditional attitudes, dispel myths, support members and demonstrate the NFU takes our responsibilities seriously as the industry leader.

This approach cannot be formed in isolation, and needs action from all industry sectors including manufacturing and those supplying machinery and equipment. By working together we will be able to improve all aspects of farm safety.

This summit will give us the chance to build a coalition with full commitment from all parties to take steps to make a very real difference to farm safety.

The health and safety summit, co-chaired by Mr Kendall and HSE chair Judith Hackitt, will take place on this morning at 10am.

Ms Hackitt said: “HSE has long led on ways to tackle the disproportionate toll of death and injury in agriculture, but strength is in numbers. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the NFU will help tackle the underlying culture and attitudes which are barriers to the industry having a safety record it can be proud of.

Today is a milestone and I would like to think that it marks the start of the sector becoming one in which death and injury are a rare occurrence. Agriculture can be as safe as any other industry sector; believing that is the first step to making it a reality.”

James Chapman, vice chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs and John Spanswick, chairman at Bovis Lend Lease and HSE Board member will also speak at the event which will also give attendees chance to participate in an open forum on forming partnerships for action.

1.      The NFU has supported HSEs innovative Come Home Safe campaign which has tried to promote a cultural change and instinctive safe working among farmers. The campaign has seen 15,000 farmers sign up to the campaign.

2.      The NFU has also helped HSE to promote the series of Safety Health Awareness Days (SHADS) which have been held on 140 farm locations nationwide.

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