Menter a Busnes has been awarded funding to work with the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP) to help reduce deaths and injuries on farms in Wales.
Established in 2012, the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP) is a collaboration of key agricultural stakeholder organisations* working to highlight farm safety and promote good practice.
The WFSP’s strategic aim is to deliver year-on-year reductions in the number of deaths and serious injuries on farms in Wales.
Agriculture has the worst rate of fatal worker injury (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors. Figures published in the Health and Safety Executive’s report ‘Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20’ show three people in Wales were killed due to farming and other agriculture-related activities. While during that period, there were 21 deaths in the sector across Wales, Scotland and England.
Menter a Busnes director, Eirwen Williams said that “While it is encouraging that the number of fatal injuries has reduced in Wales during 2019/20, the figure remains too high and much more work needs to be done to bring that figure down.
The Welsh Government funding, she said, will have a positive impact on the WFSP’s strategic aim of “driving down the unacceptable number of serious accidents and deaths that occur on farms across Wales each year.”
Eirwen Williams said, “By working together, we are creating a cohesive message to raise awareness of the issue of health and safety on farms in Wales. This award of £69,000 to promote the WFSP’s work will make a real difference and enable it to spread that message even wider through a programme of activities across Wales.
“A dedicated Health and Safety Officer will also be appointed. They will help the Partnership and its affiliated organisations continue in its drive to encourage farmers to pause, stop and think before taking unnecessary risks.” More information on this role can be found at www.menterabusnes.cymru/en/jobs
Through the Partnership, a series of activities are planned to promote farm safety and provide advice and guidance in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.
Eirwen said, “A farm is a home as well as a place of work, and in addition to highlighting safe working practices, we want to promote health and safety to children and schools.”
Helping to get the WFSP message across to the broader agricultural community are two Farm Safety Ambassadors – farmer and presenter of S4C’s Ffermio farming programme Alun Elidyr and Glyn Davies, who farms at Llanrhystud.
Alun Elidyr said, “In terms of multi-skilling, farming is the most demanding of jobs. There is an element of pride too, and as farmers, we think we can do everything.
“One minute you’re a tractor driver, next a vet, then a builder working at height. There’s the adversity of the weather too, and a situation can quickly become hazardous – no matter how experienced you are.
“Farmers are admired for having a work ethic that’s second to none. But the number of farm accidents is increasing, so we have to ask ourselves, ‘are we working safely enough?’
“We need to alter people’s mindset. It only takes a moment to stop and consider what you are doing – and it could mean the difference between life and death.”
Glyn Davies welcomed the funding, as it gives the Wales Farm Safety Partnership more resources to spread its message.
He said, “We need to get the message across to people that farm safety needs to be improved.
“I think the pandemic has also been a factor, as more people have been taking risks by trying to do things themselves on the farm rather than get someone in to help.
“We are trying to impress on people that ultimately, safety is in their hands. They need to take their time, plan the job, and not take risks. If necessary, they should get an extra pair of eyes to take a look, as they may pick up on a potential hazard that’s been missed.”