FARMERS need to be prepared for unannounced health and safety inspections on farms by ensuring that they are complying with all current regulations.

The checks are designed to help prevent and protect farmers from work-based injuries and deaths occurring on farms, after reports showed that despite the industry representing only 1.2 per cent percent of the British workforce, 20 per cent of deaths recorded were in farming and in 2017-2018, there were 33 fatalities across the sector. The new checks launched by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) hope to see the campaign halve the number of people killed on farms within four years.

The 33 deaths in the sector in 2017/18 were made up of 29 workers, two adult members of the public and two children.

“To tackle the risk to life in the farming sector, inspectors will be visiting farms unannounced to check for non-compliance to health and safety rules.

“So farmers need to be prepared and ensure that everything is compliant and in order,” said Philip Pagin, rural sales manager of H&H Insurance Brokers.

“HSE assures farmers that they are not trying to catch people out, but are keen on improving attitudes towards health and safety.

“Eliminating the risks by taking the right steps to improve the working environment is a long-term benefit for all. Especially, as it is shown that fines for offences and costs for improvement intervention can be up to £19,000 per case.

“Setting a good first impression will help inspectors get a positive feel for the farm. This means keeping up to date with annual risk assessments, maintenance records, training records and health and safety policies. Farm equipment must also be fitted with machine guards and it is vital that signage dangerous machinery operating is clearly displayed.”