ForFarmers focus on farm safety

With increasing awareness in the sector for the need to uphold farm safety and the mental health of those who work within it, ForFarmers recently offered training to colleagues in these areas at three workshops across the country, in conjunction with Yellow Wellies.

Afbeelding: ForFarmers staff across the country tok part in farm safety training cropped

Only 1 per cent of the national work force works in agriculture yet the industry equates for 17 per cent of workplace fatalities, with significant risk presented by machinery, livestock, working at height and workplace transport. When looking at mental health, 92% of farmers under 40 say that mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems in the industry.

Afbeelding: Mark Cole 001 cropped
ForFarmers, Dr Mark Cole

Dr Mark Cole, Managing Director at ForFarmers, said: “Health and safety is extremely important to us at ForFarmers. We want to keep colleagues safe and well during their working day. We and our customers work in an industry full of risk. A lot of our customers work alone and can be very isolated so we also take mental health very seriously for both customers and employees.”

Each year 12,000 accidents are reported on-farm and many more go unreported alongside an estimated 11,000 associated health issues. Time pressures at certain times of the year, like calving, harvest and silaging, can mean farmers rush to complete tasks safely. 

Conducted by Stephanie Berkeley of Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies, attendees at the training courses were armed with practical guidance on how to approach safety issues seen while calling on-farm. With half of the session dedicated to mental health, Stephanie explained how there is a clear link with the mental health of the farmer and the safety of their farm. 

Afbeelding: Stephanie Berkley
Stephanie Berkeley, Yellow Wellies

Richard Porter, UK Health and Safety Manager at ForFarmers said: “By undertaking the training, it is hoped account managers visiting customers and prospects are armed with the tools to pick up on any farm safety or mental health concerns. Much of the guidance given was also relevant to many of the staff who run their own farming enterprises alongside their ForFarmers role. Later in the year, we plan to complete similar training with our drivers. This will be done using the film recorded at the events, making it more accessible and flexible to support our drivers.”

Stephanie said: “Farm safety is everyone’s responsibility. In some cases, the account manager or driver going down the farm drive may be the only person a farmer sees that day. 

“It is also important to understand the signs of someone suffering with poor mental health and to then have the facts and confidence to have challenging conversations around farm safety and mental health, if staff see something on farm.”