Sessions on working at height, manual handling, safe use of farm machinery, electrocution and handling livestock were delivered by Duchy College and Lantra approved trainers at two free events hosted by rural insurer Cornish Mutual.
There were also practical demonstrations on how to deal with entrapment and machinery blockages, and what precautions to take around chemicals at the events at Duchy College Stoke Climsland and on Willey Farm, near Okehampton earlier this week.
Run under the South West Regional Skills Programme delivered by Duchy College Rural Business School, the training was supported by Cornish Mutual as part of the rural insurer’s ‘Farmsafe’ initiative launched earlier this year.
Philip Wilson, Business Development Manager at Cornish Mutual (pictured), said: “By providing training like this and through other ‘Farmsafe’ activities, we want to raise awareness of safety issues and help to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on farms – it could make a real difference.
These events have also been a good opportunity for our farming Members to catch up with each other and share their industry knowledge and experience.”
Ian Davey, a farmer and Cornish Mutual Member from Trerulefoot in South East Cornwall broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder, after being electrocuted with 11,000 volts when his trailer tipped up and touched an overhead power line.
Ian Davey said: “Farms are very dangerous places and there are lots of hazards which we’re not always fully aware of. We’re always in a hurry to get a job done, usually influenced by the weather, and often we don’t stand back and look at the dangers involved. My message is to look up and be aware of power lines, ladders, quad bikes, tractors, farm buildings and working at heights. These events are very important to make farmers more aware of the situations they find themselves in.”
Mike Hambly from Westcott Farm, Callington in Cornwall, commented: “I’ve had friends that have actually been fatalities, particularly one through electrocution, so the messages really do need to be listened to. I think there are a lot of us in the industry that know of people that have been touched by serious accidents. It’s beholden on all of us to want to protect ourselves if we’re self-employed and obviously to make sure staff and contractors are protected as well. We’re working in small teams and can’t afford time off to be ill or have injuries, so these are really key events to make sure we keep everyone safe to avoid these downtimes.”
Rob Pearce, Principal Inspector in Cornwall and Devon for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “Many farmers are self-employed or run small family businesses, so we want to make sure they’re not putting themselves and their livelihoods at risk with poor health and safety. There have been a number of simple tips outlined that won’t cost a lot to put into practice and could even help to boost productivity. It’s an alarming statistic that farmers are ten times more likely than most workers to be killed while at work, and that someone is killed on a farm in Devon and Cornwall on average of once every two months.”
For more information on Cornish Mutual’s ‘Farmsafe’ initiative, visit www.cornishmutual.co.uk/farmsafe
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