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Stackyard News Mar 2012

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Farm Safety Guide for Employers

Farmers have been given the good fortune of some warm weather to kick start the 2012 lambing season. Lambing all over the UK is beginning and many farms employ temporary staff over this busy and labour intensive time on the property.

Philip Pagin,
Managing Director of H&H Insurance Brokers

Philip Pagin

Young or old, male or female, foreign or British staff arrive at unfamiliar properties with new and different systems, machinery and terrain.

Philip Pagin, Managing Director of H&H Insurance Brokers highlighted some of the major risk areas for employing temporary staff.

“Whilst on-farm safety is important at all times of the year, it is crucial that employers provide an outlook to new employees to reduce the risk of accident or injury when starting work at new location or farm.”

“These are some of the examples of what should be recorded and agreed on with a new member of staff. Any documents should be signed and dated for your Health & Safety file for the protection of the employer if something does go amiss and the HSE get involved”.

Quad Bikes/ATV’s

Accidents involving quad bikes can result in extremely debilitating injury and even loss of life. First and foremost employers should assess that their new employee is competent in manoeuvring the vehicle without advice. Employers should stress to staff members the importance of not taking risks when using the quad and employees should have access to safety helmets and know where these are located.

Farm Machinery

Farm Machinery should only be used for the purpose it was designed for. Employers must ensure that employees are competent to operate the machinery in question. The employer should reiterate the importance and acceptability of employees asking questions if they are unsure. The employer may also want to instate a ‘Safe Load’ policy when moving bales, feed rings etc. One of the more obvious pieces of advice is simply when something goes wrong or gets stuck in the machinery – switch it off before investigating the problem.

Manual Handling

Farming is a physical occupation, particularly when lambing indoors. Gates, hurdles and pens all need manoeuvring around and between locations. Employers need to make sure that their staff ask for assistance or wait until someone is there to help when trying to move heavy items. There would be nothing more frustrating than losing a key staff member mid-lambing to something so easily avoided.


Particularly at lambing time when dealing with the entire birth process, hygiene needs to be prioritised. This reduces risk for both staff member and animal. Employees should know the location of the wash area and have access to appropriate disinfectants to protect both themselves and the animal.

Philip offered a final word on employing temporary staff, “Protecting your staff and assets is essential on farm. It can be a very costly exercise when negligence causes accident or machinery failure so it is important to take new staff through a small initiation into the workings and policies held on your property. When it comes to lambing time every new lamb has the potential for revenue – so protect your staff and therefore protect your income. These small steps will in the long run minimise risk to your staff members and assist in protecting your business”.

“For more specific assistance contact H&H Insurance Brokers where we can either guide you in producing your own documents or arrange for professionals to implement them for you”.

For further information please Tel. 01228 406290 or visit

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