Suffolk farmers shown six most common ways to come to harm

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS - Credit: Archant

Nearly 300 farmers were told the most likely ways they could be killed or injured at work at a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) event at Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds.

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS - Credit: Archant

Farmer-instructors from land-based training body Lantra put them through their paces with a series of scenarios, showing six of the most likely ways they could come to harm and how to avoid them at a training roadshow on February 20.

One of the main focuses was using a telescopic handler, highlighting the often poor visibility behind the machines, and the common but dangerous practice of using them to lift someone on a pallet or in a potato box.

Badly maintained machinery was also in the spotlight, including worn or badly adjusted brakes on trailers, moving parts exposed by broken guards, and damaged or missing rear-view mirrors.

Farmers were urged to take a critical look at their tractors and machinery and make corrections before they use them.

Delegates at the farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS

Delegates at the farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS - Credit: Archant

Instructor Steven Cock showed how farmers could work at height more safely, while fellow instructors Simon Singlehurst and Mike Wells showed how chemicals can burn skin and lungs, dust can block airways and excessive noise can damage hearing.

“Throughout the sessions operator training was understandably stressed,” said Denis Cartmel, an instructor in the safe of use of machinery.

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“An untrained operator is a liability in a technical environment, without the knowledge of the hazards faced how can they avoid them.”

Mr Cartmel said receiving guidance from fellow farmers such as themselves often worked better than other methods.

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Delegates listen to instructor Brian Rees. Picture: FORGE C

Farm safety awareness course at Rougham. Delegates listen to instructor Brian Rees. Picture: FORGE COMMUNICATIONS - Credit: Archant

“Farming is the most dangerous occupation, people who work on farms make up less than 2% of the total UK workforce, yet they account for near 20% of work-related fatal injuries,” he pointed out.

“The figures for non-fatal/serious injuries are believed to be similarly bad and equally proportional. Use of machinery is, unfortunately, a significant contributor to these accident figures.”

The event was run by Lantra, the industry’s main training provider and accreditor, on behalf of HSE.