The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) plays a huge role in the management of Britain’s workplaces. As well as offering exceptional guidance on all things H&S in diverse working environments, they also run consecutive campaigns to highlight various H&S shortcoming and promote safety in the workplace.
The “Make the Promise” campaign was aimed at agricultural workers and served to shine a light on the high percentage of workplace accidents that happen on farmland and in agricultural settings. The campaign was awarded two prizes at the PR Week Awards for both Public Sector PR Campaign of the Year and the prestigious Campaign of the Year award.
On average, one farmer and four agricultural workers are killed each month on British farmland. HSE figures report that despite making up just 1.5% of the UK’s working population, 15-20% of all accidents happen to agricultural workers and farmers. Typical accidents include a fall when working at height, electrocution and being crushed by a falling object. Falling from height constitutes 16% of all agricultural injuries and deaths.
The campaign aims to help self-employed farmers, farm managers and agricultural workers to access practical, useful information on all aspects of health and safety in the agricultural setting. Topics include machinery, transport, First Aid, environmental changes, risk assessment, pesticides, livestock management, waste and preventing falls from height.
Working at Height
We understand that working at height needs to be carefully planned, supervised and always carried out by qualified people. Falls are the second highest cause of death in agriculture. The message the HSE is trying to get across is that many of these accidents can be prevented with the right risk assessment, tools and safety precautions.
What Can Be Done?
Many farmers and agricultural workers work autonomously or in environments where H&S goes out the window on a regular basis. Activities like storing silage frequently involve climbing onto barn dividers to move tyres or reposition plastic sheeting. Updating safety equipment like guardrails, ladders, etc can go a long way to boosting the safety record of a farm. Take the example of something like roof safety. A huge part of the “Make the Promise” campaign covers the mentality of agricultural workers and farmers concerning basic H&S in a dangerous environment. Economic factors, cultural considerations and environmental factors (such as daylight or bad weather) can lead those working on farmland to discount – perhaps never even consider – basic health and safety like guardrails and fall protection, which can significantly lower the risk of injury or death when fixing a roof or accessing high equipment.
30,000 farmers and agricultural workers have already pledged to “come home safe”, as the campaign promotes, and the campaign is still enjoying full support from the NFU, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Co-operative Farms. We’re based in an area with a very strong agriculture industry, and know first-hand that safety on the farm can mean the difference between life and death far more than in the typical workplace.