The Health and Safety Executive has published a guide to what a good farm looks like, which offers important information on what HSE inspectors will be focusing on when they visit your farm. It covers the training that’s needed for handling machines, as well as covering topics such as public access, safety procedures, the use of pesticides and chemicals, animal handling, and electrical safety. As farming is one of the most dangerous industries in terms of injuries and fatalities, health and safety inspections are vital to ensure the safety of farmers, staff, visitors and members of the public alike.
What happens during an inspection?
The law allows the HSE to visit your farm and carry out an inspection at any reasonable time, with or without notice. Inspectors will be looking at the measures you take to keep your workers healthy and safe, as well as the measures in place to help prevent injuries. Inspectors have the power to issue an improvement notice detailing work that needs to be done to improve farm safety or, if they think an activity could result in serious injury, can issue a prohibition notice that immediately shuts down that activity. Click here for the HSE’s leaflet on what to expect when an inspector calls.
Preparation is key
Given the fact that inspectors can potentially arrive at any time, it makes sense to make sure your farm is fully prepared at all times. For example, is your staff’s training and certification up to date? It’s a good idea to use the leaflet on what a good farm looks like to help you carry out your own inspection to try to see your farm through the eyes of an inspector. It’s also a good idea to try to anticipate the questions an inspector might ask your workers and anticipate what their answers will be. If you have concerns about those answers, you can do something about it, hopefully before things get flagged up in an inspection.
Information plays a huge role in farm safety, and signage is an important part of this, especially on farms that have public access. To be effective, signs must be clearly visible, so if some of your current signs have seen better days, it’s time to replace them. We have a huge range of permanent and temporary stock signage available covering a variety of themes.
Farms are full of dangers, so warning signs are a vital element in keeping people safe. You cannot always be sure that people, especially visitors, will be fully aware of their environment, so you need warning signs to alert them to a range of dangers, enabling them to take action which means they avoid injury.
If your farm has public access, footpath and waymarker signage will help keep people on the correct footpath and away from any dangers on the farm.
Animal and livestock signage will help warn members of the public about potential hazards to them from livestock, and it will also remind them of their responsibilities and the law in respect of their dogs.
Potential dangers can be managed with prohibition signs that warn people of specific hazards, enabling them to take avoiding action.
When there are instructions that need to be followed at all times, mandatory signs come into their own. Whether it’s reminding people to wear protective clothing or equipment or to keep doors shut or supplies locked, well-placed signage will help to ensure they remember their responsibilities.