Potato farmers are being urged to take steps to manage risks to themselves and workers during harvest.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plans to visit farms across the country that grow, pick and process potatoes over the next few months as part of its latest inspection initiative.
It said it will be checking that the risks during potato harvest season are being controlled and that measures are being put in place to protect farmers and their workers.
The initiative comes after the publication of HSE statistics which show there have been 30 deaths on farms in Great Britain over the last 12 months.
HSE said incidents during potato harvest remain a common cause of serious and fatal injury and recurring causes include entanglement with parts of machines, being struck or run over by vehicles and falls from height.
“The risks during potato harvesting are well-known but the precautions are straightforward. Farmers and their employees need to work together to make sure equipment is safe and work is well-planned. This inspection initiative is about ensuring those participating in any harvesting activity remain safe and go home from their work healthy,” said HSE head of agriculture Rick Brunt.
“HSE is calling on anyone involved with the potato harvesting season to do what they can to reduce the likelihood of incidents on their farms.”
He said HSE inspectors would be checking that haulm and clod rollers were properly guarded, and that PTO guards were in good condition. They will also be checking whether harvest operators have been trained, and if drivers were following Safe Stop guidance.
The inspectors will also check if equipment has been adequately maintained, that moving vehicles are segregated from pedestrians and that risks of falls are managed.