A NEW safety campaign has been launched by the National Farmers’ Union and Farm Safety Partnership to help reduce farm work place fatal accidents by 50 per cent by 2023.

The year-long campaign comes after recent figures revealed that seven people had died in agricultural-related accidents across the North-East over the past five years.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive showed that 33 people working in agriculture were killed across Britain in 2017/18.

On a tri-monthly basis across 2019, the campaign will focus on one of the top four causes of farm work place fatalities and injuries.

These topics include livestock, children, falls from heights, and the current topic, transport.

Advice on preventive methods and changes which can be made around the farm will be shared across the union’s social media. The latest is a new NFU vehicle health check guide, which is designed to help farmers maintain and use vehicles safely, and comply with the law.

This month, NFU member Will Dickinson spoke out about the importance of transportation safety, and shared the ways in which he remained safe on the farm.

“Safety is all about managing risk by removing it or controlling it,” he said. “It used to be that when we were tipping grain in the shed, a yard man would manually open the back. This operation was risky, so we got rid of that by getting hydraulic power boards which removed the need for a manual operation. The easiest way to make yourself safe is to take away the risk.

“The newest generations of tractors have a park facility and many of them have a safe stop mode built into this. You just slot it into park when you stop the tractor and you don’t even need to move your hand. Securing your tractor before leaving the cab is one easy way to stop being run over and will make a big difference to your safety and reduce the number of accidents in farming vehicles.”

Will acknowledged that there was an onus on farmers to stay safe around transport. He conducts checks on his vehicle every morning.

He said: “Brakes must work, tyres need to be on wheels correctly, oil, fuel levels and brakes need to be checked along with everything that makes a vehicle work safely.

“Checking can take a bit of time, but if you don’t things always seem to go wrong when you least want them to do so, and can cost even more time while you are trying to fix them.”