As a safety professional I would like to commend Sam Walker's article in the Farmers Weekly magazine this week on 'Have courage to call out on unsafe Farming Practices'.
In it - he comments on his experiences of working on a farm and about the misguided culture of taking unnecessary risks or short cuts or being asked 'where is your sense of adventure' when asked to carry out unsafe work and to 'man up'.
He states that all farmers, himself included, will know of people who have lost their lives whilst farming or have been seriously injured and will know of times where they have taken poorly thought through short cuts only to look back on what they did in horror.
He reminds us that its everyone's responsibility to call out unsafe practices and that to value you own health and safety above replacing a cheap plastic PTO guard for example.
Sometimes it's difficult to raise your head above the parapet - but calling out something that its unsafe is more courageous than blindly taking the risk and then ending up getting hurt or worse.
In fact, I would like to add that as well as a moral 'duty of care' it is the requirement of Health and Safety legislation for employees to be aware of their own health and safety and that of others, including colleagues and visitors, and to call out hazards if you identify them, which could include damaged equipment, missing guards, poor housekeeping or lack of training or PPE.
I'd say be your own Safety Champion or pair up with a colleague and be each others Safety Buddy - as its often easier to spot when someone is working unsafely than yourself.
It's this approach that will help change attitudes to safety on the farm and create a safety culture which will hopefully begin to reduce the appalling accident statistics which hardly improve year on year.
We need to normalise conversations about safe working procedures as just part of good business practices and ensure that staff communicate with each other regularly and are encouraged to call out when they identify something that's unsafe.
The Farm Community Network has written this article about how you can start the sometimes difficult conversation about improving health and safety on your farm. See below:-
Raise awareness of Safety on your farm by checking out webinars and news form the Farm Safety partnership
They are focusing on Safety in Cattle Handling and Children's Safety on the Farm for the first part of the year.
Check out our Farm Safety Focus page to see webinars by FSP on Cattle Handling and a Child Safety Webinar from Alma Jordan of Agrikids on Animal Safety Awareness.
Our April Safety Note also covers both these topics you can see the link here.