AFTER 31 farmers were killed by cattle over the last five years, two agricultural organisations have arranged a new safety event aimed at improving the industry’s health and safety record.

Jointly hosted by the North East National Farmers’ Union and AHDB Beef and Lamb, the event will demonstrate improvements that could be made to cattle handling systems, and discuss simple safety precautions to put in place when working alone.

Independent cattle handling expert Miriam Parker will also host a presentation on understanding cattle behaviour, and how the design of handling systems can affect cattle co-operation.

Miriam said: “Managing cattle movement is a true skill and understanding how animals react and what stimulates them can help producers design better handling facilities.

“Managing cattle movement is not just about a quiet life – it is about improving safety for those handling them – and that is increasingly important as labour on-farm reduces.

“It is also about increased efficiency – requiring fewer hands for any task. Good handling makes routine and important tasks easier, safer and quicker to achieve.”

Also attending will be NFU farm safety and transport adviser, Tom Price, and representatives from location finder specialists What3Words and from farming charities Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and the Farming Community Network (FCN) who will share safety advice on working alone.

The event was a suggestion from North East Livestock Board member and York farmer, Andrew Sewell, who said that he was shocked by the number of people injured and killed by cattle every year.

“We need to do something about this urgently,” he said.

“More of us are working alone and we never think anything will happen to us as we are working with cattle day in and day out. But animals can be unpredictable and when something goes wrong farmers are always going to come off worse.

“We can all take practical steps to reduce the risks we face and I hope this event will tackle what can be a tricky subject in a positive way, encouraging everyone to take action back on their own farms – whether that’s looking afresh at their handling systems or changing the way they work to improve their on-farm safety.

"At the very least, I would hope all farmers download the What3Words app to their phone so that if there is an incident they can get help quickly.”

The event will take place at Greystone Farm near Richmond, Yorkshire, on November 6 from 10am.