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Boosting safety on Scottish farms

06 September 2018

WITH SCOTLAND'S farm safety record continuing to be one of the poorest across the UK, Farm Safety Partnership Scotland (FSPS) is encouraging those working within the industry to make safety a priority.

FSPS, which consists of key industry stakeholders, will be focussing on different types of farming activities each quarter to deliver key messages and encourage those working and living on Scotland’s farms and crofts to take action.

The campaign, trailing on from Farm Safety Week in July, is urging people to make an active choice about their safety and will focus on the following between September and November: general maintenance on farm, falls from heights and safety at harvest. 

Last year there were 33 deaths in the agricultural industry in the UK, with five in Scotland. The most common causes of death in the agricultural industry continues to involve falls, transport, animals and equipment. 

Over the last five years 38 people have been killed in the UK by a moving vehicle; 12 people have been killed by contact with machinery; 10 have been killed by asphyxiation or drowning, including in grain stores or pits and slurry pits and eight people have been killed by contact with electricity. This data does not take into account the number of injuries on Scotland’s farms and crofts, a number that is believed to be significantly higher.

For those amidst harvest, it is essential that they practice the ‘Safe Stop’ method when working with machinery, equipment and vehicles - handbrake on, controls in neutral, engine off, keys out. 

Anyone working with equipment or machinery should also be appropriately trained, with full risk assessments carried out, particularly when working near power lines. 

Speaking on behalf of FSPS, NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker commented, “One death or injury on Scotland’s farms and crofts is frankly one too many and as an industry we need to take action to make a conscious effort to put our safety, and that of those living and working around us as a priority.

“Whether it is carrying out maintenance to a roof, checking over a machine, or working in a field with power lines, injuries and deaths through accidents most of the time are preventable by taking simple steps and precautions.

“This campaign encourages farmers and crofters to make a point of ensuring their working environment is safe to help us work together to reduce the death and injury toll on our farms and crofts.

“This autumn, it is about Your Safety, Your Choice, and as the darker nights draw in, and many are rushing to get the job done it is important to take a step back to make sure you are working safely.”