HSE inspection visits to 300 farms across three regions in England and Wales are under way.
In the past many farmers across England and Wales will have attended one of the HSE Safety and Health Awareness days (SHADS). These events ran for many years and offered farmers practical advice and served to raise awareness of safety and health in agriculture.
The HSE have now ended SHAD events and replaced them with Agricultural Compliance Events (ACE events). ACE events are class room based with around 20 people in each event. The aim of the events is to clearly set out the legal requirements for health and safety and help farmers comply with the law. Not every region in the UK has been selected to hold these events. They have been trialled this year in South West and Eastern England, the central belt of Scotland and Mid and Northern Wales.
The ACE events have now all been held but there will be follow up activity with inspection visits in each region were ACE events were held. Inspections have started and will take place until the end of March 2019. 100 inspection visits are planned in each region where ACE events have been held. The HSE plan is to visit 10% of the farms who accepted the invitation to attend an ACE event and 10% of those farms who either declined the invitation or failed to respond to the invitation letter.
The inspections will cover all aspects of farm safety but will have a focus on child safety, transport and machinery, cattle, working at height, overhead power lines and confined spaces.
The HSE has published new guidance to help farmers comply with the law and be safe at work called ‘What a good farm looks like’. A copy of the guidance was given to everyone who attended an ACE event and is now also available free on line from the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/resources/good-farm.htm
‘What a good farm looks like’ is designed to help farmers understand the common risks to health and safety on farm and how to control them. It contains simple statements of what a farm complying with health and safety legislation looks like in terms of the management of safety and health risks. The aim of the guide is to help farmers understand what they can and should have in place to prevent accidents and ill health on farm. HSE inspectors will look at the topics covered in the guide when making their inspection visits to farm to assess that common risks are controlled.
All farmers – not just those who might have an inspection visit - are urged to get a copy of ‘What a good farm looks like’ and check that they are doing everything they can to manage risk and ensure the safety of themselves, workers and visitors to farm.
More information on HSE priorities for farm inspections is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00099.pdf.
Advice on what to expect if the HSE make an inspection visit is available here.NFU members have access to free health and safety advice from CallFirst the member exclusive telephone help line on 0370 845 8458.