The number of fatal accidents on farms is refusing to drop, with 160 people killed in the last five years, according to the Health and Safety Executive. To tackle this farm safety experts have spent a day working with around 60 Agriculture apprentices and students at Duchy College.
Specialist for the Farm Safety Foundation, Stephanie Berkeley said: “The problem of accidents on farms is not going away and we are not naïve enough to believe we can solve this entirely but by digging deeper into the detail and engaging with the younger farmer, we have found that significant improvements in behaviour are possible. As the farmers of the future, young people with a solid knowledge of safe working practices will have a greater capability to make informed and safe decisions which stands the industry in greater stead. Working closely with highly committed colleges like Duchy, it is hoped that together we can make a difference and change attitudes to health and safety in tomorrow’s farming community.”
The workshop was held at the Duchy Home Farm and involved the students visiting four accident scenes. The scenarios included; machinery / PTO related incident, a fall from height, a crushing injury from working in a pen with cattle and a slurry gas related asphyxiation incident.
The students then spent time working out what had happened at each one, deciding what immediate action should be taken in each case, contemplate First Aid implications and decide what measures should be taken to prevent the accident happening in the future.
Level 2 Agriculture Student, Thomas Hopper, said: “It has been a really good morning. It was good that it was all based outside rather than in a classroom and I liked the way we went around to the different scenes and had to work out what had happened. The instructors gave us information to help us do this. I have learnt a lot!”
Falls constitute one of the most common farm accidents and accounted for 23 fatal accidents in the last five years. It’s hoped that by targeting young people it may help to influence the older generation.
Team Lead for Work Based Learning Agriculture, Roger Clarke said: “Young people are such an important target group for this farm safety message as the future of the industry. As technology advances within farming, the risk of accidents can actually increase. While the safety of machinery and equipment has improved, the fact that machines can do so much more can make people complacent. It’s fantastic to have an outside organisation like the Farm Safety Foundation come in to help us deliver this vital message and for the students to face scenarios they could come across on their own farms when they go home or in their future workplace.”
Head of Campus, Rob Dunn, said: “We have been given a great opportunity to host this event for our students. By helping raise awareness of farm safety among young farmers, challenging and changing their attitudes towards farming safely and reducing the toll of injuries and fatalities, we can help make this industry a safer place to work in.”