Published onNovember 4 2019
The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), a collaboration of the key agricultural stakeholder organisations in Wales, is working together to raise awareness of farm safety. The partnership provides advice and guidance in conjunction with the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) to try and improve safety and save lives on the nations farms.
The topic they're focusing on this week is falling from height, which is one of the most common causes of workplace death and life-changing injuries. Unfortunately this Autumn, a Nottinghamshire farmer attempted to save time by not bringing in a professional roofing contractor, which resulted in tragic, fatal consequences when he fell through a fragile roof.
Glyn Davies, a Ceredigion farmer who is an ambassador for the Wales Farm Safety Partnership and one of Farming Connect’s approved farm safety mentors, says that planning ahead and assessing the risks is critical.
“Factors to weigh up include the height of the task, the duration and frequency, as well as the condition of the surface being worked on. It may be possible to carry out many tasks from ground level without the need to work at height so this should always be considered when planning the task.
However, where working at height cannot be avoided, you should if possible, use a competent contractor who is properly trained to work at height. Normally, this will mean scaffold edge protection, a good access ladder or tower scaffold and all fragile materials should be covered or protected,” says Mr. Davies.
Top tips to keep safe on the farm from the Health & Safety Executive:
- Try to avoid or minimise the time spent working at heights whenver possible - even short duration work needs the right planning and access equipment
- Avoid doing the work yourself by using a professional contractor with the knowledge, skills equipment and experience to safely work at height on buildings
- Avoid roof work or working at height to maintain buildings by doing as much as you can from the ground e.g. use extending equipment to clear gutters.
- Reduce the risk of falls from large machinery such as combines by always using the access ladders, steps and/or standing platforms provided by the manufacturer
For further advice on working safely and preventing falls when working at heights, take a few minutes to visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/height.htm
For further information on Farming Connect’s fully funded one-to-one confidential mentoring service, visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnnect