HSE farm inspection programme - autumn 2021

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The HSE will visit farms in the Midlands, Northwest and South Wales. Farmers and growers, find out more below on the inspections and free training on offer.

The HSE is inspecting farms because risk in the farming workplace is often poorly managed, which means that agriculture persistently has high death, injury and ill health rates compared to other industries. The workplace death rate in agriculture is six times higher than in construction, and 20 times higher than all industry average. The main causes of death are:

  • Workplace transport
  • Falling objects
  • Falls from height
  • Machinery, maintenance on moving equipment
  • Livestock handling

Precautions needed to be taken to avoid death in the workplace are well known, as are the solutions. Many of these are easy to carry out and very cost effective. For example, following Safe Stop every time a driver leaves the cab of a vehicle.

Read on for more information on where HSE inspections will take place and when. The HSE is also offering a fixed number of free training places to farmers in the areas where they will be carrying out inspections. Find out more below.

When will the inspections start?

Inspection visits to farms in four selected areas of Great Britain will start in November 2021 and end in January 2022.

In which areas will inspections take place?

Inspections will take place in the following areas:

•    Southeast – Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire
•    East Anglia – Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire
•    Northwest – Cumbria and Lancashire
•    South Wales – various locations

How do I prepare for an HSE inspection?

The HSE is offering a fixed number of free training places to farmers in the areas where they will be carrying out inspections. The training is being provided by Lantra and will be delivered remotely through an eLearning package. From the beginning of August farmers in the selected areas will be invited by letter to take the training package. Places are limited and will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Is an inspection more likely if I accept the training offer?

No. The selection of farms for inspection is entirely independent of the eLearning offer. Whether or not a farmer undertakes the eLearning will not affect the probability of being inspected or not.

If I am selected for inspection, will I be asked if I took the training?

Farmers selected for inspection will be asked whether they have completed the eLearning to help the HSE determine whether the eLearning improves inspection outcomes or not. As stated above, the mere fact that training has been completed will not influence the probability of being inspected or not.

Is there a charge for the eLearning?

No, a fixed number of eLearning places will be provided free of charge to an invited number of farmers in the areas where the HSE will be inspecting, but places are limited so early booking is recommended if members want to take advantage of the free eLearning course.

When is the free eLearning available?

Farmers who secure a free place on the eLearning will have access from 2 August 2021, but the course must be completed by 12 September 2021.

Will I get a record that I completed the course?

Yes, on completion of the course participants will receive a certificate confirming that the course has been taken and completed.

Can everyone who works on the farm complete the free eLearning?

The HSE will fund one person to take the eLearning training. However, the NFU is working with Lantra to secure access to the training for all members across England and Wales, their families, and employees at a discount to the normal price. It is anticipated that the cost will be £18 per head. More details on the NFU discounted offer to members, their families and employees will be published soon.

Is guidance available to help prepare for an HSE inspection?

HSE inspections will focus on the main causes of fatal accidents in the farm workplace, which are covered in the eLearning package. More information and guidance is available in:

•    The HSE leaflet What a good farm looks like. This has statements of what a farm complying with health and safety legislation looks like in terms of the management of safety and health risks. 
•    The HSE leaflet Farmwise.
•    A short video When a health and safety inspector calls.
•    The NFU Safety Hub and from CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

Repeat visits for farms visited in 2019

In 2019, the HSE inspected farms in Yorkshire, the Northeast, Southeast, Midlands and Scotland. Between January 2022 and March 2022 follow up visits will be made to a sample of the farms visited in 2019 to determine whether there has been a sustained safety improvement.