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Experts Urge Farmers to Focus on Tractor Safety

19 July 2012

UK - Cutting the number of accidents on farmland involving quad bikes, chainsaws and tractors was the aim of an event set to take place in North Wales today (19 July).

In the past 10 years, 43 people have been killed in farming and agriculture-related activities in Wales.

The recent bad weather has left farmers rushed and playing catch up, according to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) North Wales Branch. This, combined with the ongoing financial pressures in agriculture, means now, more than ever, farmers and landowners need to focus on safety.

Speaking about the branch’s ‘Working Safely in Rural Industries’ event, at Glynllifon, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, spokesman Richie Owen said: “The agriculture sector remains one of Wales’ most dangerous industries.

“It presents a challenge for regulators, as fatalities continue to be mainly in the hard-to-reach family and small-farm sector, and tend to involve farmers over the age of 45.

“At the same time, there are many more serious injuries occurring in agriculture that don’t result in death. These accidents must also be prevented.”

Health and safety professionals, farmers and landowners across Wales are due to gather tomorrow at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor for the IOSH North Wales Branch’s interactive event, with the aim of reducing unnecessary accidents and injuries in the agriculture industry. Richie added: “It’s not just farmers and workers that are killed and injured on farms but members of the public too.

“Health and safety is a must in the sector and we need to work together to increase awareness and change behaviour.”

At the beginning of 2012, the On-Farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales was launched by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, in an attempt to change attitudes and behaviour within the farming industry in Wales.

When asked about the event, Minister Alun Davies, said: “The persistently high level of deaths and serious injury on our farms has been a big cause for concern for all those linked to the industry. I believe that partnership working is the key to making sure that every farmer is equipped with the knowledge they need to come home safe and sound, and this is why I felt it so important that the Welsh Government be one of the signatories to the On-Farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales.

“This is an agreement between many of the organisations representing the agricultural industries, to work to change dangerous behaviour. Events such as this one run by IOSH play a vital role in protecting the ethos of the Charter, and ultimately, in reducing the number of serious incidents and fatalities on Welsh farms.”

Delegates at the event assessed some of the most common causes of deaths and serious injuries in the agriculture sector including handling livestock and using tractors, quad bikes and chainsaws.

Eurwyn Edwards, Glynllifon development director, said: "Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor welcomes the IOSH members to the health and safety event at the Glynllifon land-based site.

“The land-based industry has been recognised as one of the most dangerous within the UK and as a leading education and training land-based provider in Wales, promoting the awareness of such dangers is paramount. It is important that students and those involved within the industry are provided with a unified message in relation to health and safety."

TheCropSite News Desk

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