The Agricultural and Biological Engineering group of Penn State University is currently conducting a research project on hydrogen sulfide releases from manure pits, with a focus on farms using gypsum products as bedding for dairy cows. (Industrial Scientific Corporation photo)

HSE Targets Farm Hazards

Farming is the most dangerous industry in Britain, with the latest figures showing 33 people died in agriculture settings during 2017/18. The country's agricultural industry has a fatal injury rate about 18 times higher than the all-industry fatal injury rate, according to the agency.

British farmers are being told they must pay closer attention to how they manage safety risks or face serious penalties, as the Health and Safety Executive prepares to kick off inspections of health and safety standards on farms across the country soon. The inspections will ensure those responsible for protecting themselves and workers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent injuries.

Throughout the inspection initiative, inspectors will be checking that risks are being controlled in specific areas that include machinery, falls from height, livestock, and risks to children.

Farming is the most dangerous industry in Britain, with the latest figures showing 33 people died in agriculture settings during 2017/18. The country's agricultural industry has a fatal injury rate about 18 times higher than the all-industry fatal injury rate, according to the agency.

HSE's announcement followed a series of compliance events that were developed as a result of research into farmers attitudes to risk and aimed at changing behaviors in the industry. Farmers in the area were given the opportunity to attend one of these events, paid for by HSE, to help them comply with the law and prepare for its inspections; HSE is now following up to make sure that all farms are doing the right things.

"We are seeing signs of a change in attitude across the farming industry and while this is encouraging, these inspections act as a reminder to farmers of the importance of managing risks so that everyone can go home from their work healthy," said Rick Brunt, HSE's head of agriculture. "Everyone involved in farming has a role to play. Those working in the industry need to understand the risks they face and the simple ways they can be managed. Those that work with the industry can be part of the change that is so badly needed. Farmers, managers, and workers are reminded that death, injuries, and cases of ill health are not an inevitable part of farming."

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