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NFU Cymru hosts farm safety summit

Created on 23/01/2011 @ 08:59
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Farmers from acrossMid Wales have met in a bid to improve farm safety.

In a groundbreaking move, NFU Cymru invited representatives from across the Welsh farming industry to a summit this week aimed at substantially improving farm safety.

The discussions at the summit revolved around finding ways of improving farm safety and reducing the staggering number of fatalities and serious injuries within the agriculture industry. Consideration was also given to the unique health and safety challenges that those working in farming face daily.

 NFU Cymru President, Ed Bailey said, “Ultimately we want to raise the profile of farm safety through the various farming industry related organisations present at this summit in order to reduce the awful number of deaths and serious injuries we constantly hear about in the news.

 Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), spoke at the meeting which took place at NFU Cymru’s HQ in Builth Wells. She told those present that every year in Great Britain there were about 50 deaths within the agricultural industry – that’s almost one person dying a week.

 “If asked, the public would assume that the most dangerous industry would be construction. The sad fact is people are two and a half times more likely to die if they work in agriculture than in construction. If I had a son I certainly would not encourage him to follow a career in agriculture. HSE wants the industry to recognise that it doesn’t have to be this way - a safety culture needs to become an integral part of farming.”    


Ed Bailey said, “As an industry which is largely based on strong family ties, we look to our sons and daughters to take over from us one day. Judith’s message about the industry being unsafe for our own children is why we must try to make a difference and cannot continue to ignore or accept this level of fatalities and serious injury. We must act now to help reduce the number of deaths, change the farmers’ mindset towards health and safety and demonstrate best practice.”

 John Kenny, Chief Claims Manager for NFU Mutual, highlighted to those present accident trends in Wales relating to falls from height, self build, careless use of machinery and the handling of livestock. Mr Kenny said, “Lessons can be learnt from an analysis of liability claims following accidents and we are keen to improve customers’ awareness of farm safety and have already successfully piloted in Wales farm safety workshops.

"NFU Mutual risk management teams are also tasked specifically to making farms safer places to work. We recognise, however, that this is just a part of best practice and are keen to work with the other major players in Wales committed to reducing deaths and injuries on farm.”

 Ed Bailey concluded, “I have been encouraged by the support of all organisations represented at the summit for this initiative and I see today’s summit as the beginning of a long term process in which we all have to actively engage because together I am sure we can make a difference. 

"NFU Cymru will now act as a catalyst in getting an agreed simple plan of action put together with other parties so that our approach is both co-ordinated and integrated to maximise its effectiveness."

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