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Industry leaders back safety campaign

June 5, 2011 by  
Filed under News & Business, Machinery

A MAJOR new campaign to improve safety on eastern region farms has won the backing of industry leaders.

NFU president Peter Kendall attended the launch of the Farm Safety Month initiative to raise awareness of the dangers within the agricultural sector at the Suffolk Show on Wednesday, 1 June.

Some 455 people have died on British farms in the past 10 years, almost one death every week, according to figures from the Health & Safety Executive. It was a shocking statistic, Mr Kendall told listeners.

“We know this is an unpredictable job. We know we cope with long hours, difficult working conditions and often working alone, but as an industry we must work together to raise awareness and drive these figures down.

The highlight of the month will be five free interactive safety workshops, which will provide common sense solutions to farmers about reducing the risks on their farms.  Each event will cover ways of minimising risks on farm.

Michael Mack of Landskills East said: “I would like to ask every farm owner, manager and member of staff to take time during the month of June to think about how the safety on your farm can be improved.”

Any delay in seeking help when an accident happens can make the difference between life and death.  Agricultural purchasing group Anglia Farmers will launch a tacking device with a ‘help’ button for isolated workers in the field.

Known as Loneworker, the device ensures that panic buttons on mobile phones can be pinpointed by satellite to give an exact location of the person in distress so they can be reached quickly by the emergency services.

Although only 1.5% of the working population works in agriculture, the industry accounts for one in five work-related deaths every year. Falls from height are the biggest causes of workplace deaths.

HSE inspector Alison Cook said: “Each death or injury leaves a trail of misery and suffering for individuals and farming families. These incidents don’t have to keep happening.”

Other organisatiions supporting Farm Safety Month include the region’s agricultural colleges, Anglia Rural Training, Poultec, the British Pig Executive and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

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