Health and Safety Update

The statistics surrounding farming and health and safety are more than alarming. Year on year the number of people injured or killed on farms remains stubbornly high. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are spending an increasing amount of time and money on improving conditions and legislation but it is up to you, the farmer, to implement changes and make a difference.

This month has seen a range of health and safety headlines:

New Legislation – Welding Fumes

It has been proven that exposure to mild welding fumes can cause lung (and possibly kidney) cancer. As a result, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have changed enforcement expectations in the control measures that need to be taken.

This applies to all workers, self-employed, contractors and any others who undertake welding activities in any industry – including agriculture!

With immediate effect, any businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided. General ventilation is not enough!

Things to think about include:
1.  If welding indoors, installing a Local Exhaust Ventilator (LEV).
2.  Providing Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and following an RPE programme.
3.  Ensuring employees have sufficient information, training and instruction.
4.  Updating Risk Assessments to reflect changes.

Working with Livestock

Every year, people are killed by livestock on farms (nearly one quarter of deaths last year). Recently, there have been a number of livestock handling incidents. However, these can be prevented!

HSE inspectors are visiting farms to remind farmers of their duty to protect themselves, their workers and members of the public. If suitable controls are not in place, inspectors will use enforcement action to bring about changes.

Things to think about include:
1.  Appropriate handling facilities that are in good working condition.
2.  A race and crush that are suitable for the animals you handle.
3.  Trained and competent workers.
4.  Rigorous culling policy for temperamental animals.
5.  Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work.

Fee Increase

HSE Inspectors can visit your farm at any time. They have the power to inspect, investigate and give enforcement action. Businesses are charged for the investigation process, from the point of breach until the decision is made on the enforcement action. This is known as the Fee for Intervention (FFI).

On the 6th April 2019, this fee increased from £129 to £154 per hour – nearly 20%!

Of course, the primary reason for managing health and safety on your farm is to protect yourself and others. However, the human costs of an accident can be incalculable to those affected.

By taking safety into consideration on a day-to-day basis, you can help your business avoid the financial hit of an investigation.

If you would like any further information on the points above, or health and safety advice for your farm, please contact Cari at the Rural Compliance Service on 01249 750151 or

Posted in Arable & Crops, Business Management, Chippenham, Dairy & Forage.