It’s a busy time of year for the agricultural industry, particularly for farmers. The sector represents about 1.8% of the British workforce. But the risk of accidents happening is also one of the highest. On average, between 40 and 50 workers are killed on British farms every year. This figure is higher than the number of deaths in construction and in manufacturing.
There have been many incidents where farm workers have been seriously injured so it is important for employers to take the risk seriously as the fines from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can be significant. Most recently, a dairy farmer in Ayrshire was fined £10,000 when a labourer fell through a rooflight on a cow shed whilst cleaning guttering and skylights.
Therefore, it is crucial that anybody involved in agricultural activities puts health and safety first at all times. Many organisations involved in the sector could find they greatly benefit from implementing occupational health and safety management system and achieving certification for OHSAS 18001:2007.
OHSAS 18001:2007 is an important standard for all companies, whatever their size or sector and sets out the minimum requirements for occupational health and safety management best practice. It enables organisations to design their own health and safety framework bringing all relevant processes into one management system in order to create the best possible working conditions and meet legal, industry and customer requirements.
With such a high rate of accidents, it’s vital that companies operating within the agricultural sector underline their responsible practices through the achievement of such a well recognised standard. Its adoption means employers can greatly improve working conditions and significantly reduce the risk of accidents occurring.
Achieving OHSAS 18001:2007 will not eliminate all the risks but it goes a long way to protecting staff as far as is practical. But making the assessment and taking action is what matters when it comes to health and safety.