Rural insurer NFU Mutual has launched a new online programme to provide health and safety advice to farmers and crofters.
The NFU Mutual Safety Hub aims to provide advice on how farmers can operate safely, as well as ensuring their businesses are compliant with health and safety legislation.
According to the insurer, farming remains the most dangerous profession in the UK with smaller farmers more prone to significant Employers Liability claims resulting from injuries to workers.
These smaller businesses were less likely to have the relevant health and safety documentation in place, putting them at higher risk of civil or criminal litigation, it said.
“Safety is one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture. Small farms face some of the highest risks, with workers carrying out a wide range of tasks, often alone and working against the clock in poor weather conditions,” said the head of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services, Ian Jewitt.
He said the online system, which costs £150 a year plus VAT, was designed for businesses with a workforce of up to three people.
The system gives farmers access to modules which generate specific risk management plans for farms, which address all hazards to staff and the public.
It is mobile and tablet enabled to allow producers to access it on the move.
The online system launch follows the release of figures last week which revealed young farmers were more at risk of accidents on farm.
A survey carried out on behalf of the Farm Safety Foundation – a charitable trust set up by NFU Mutual – found 51% of those aged between 18 to 30 were prepared to take risks when doing jobs around the farm, while 47% said they tackled potentially risky repair jobs despite not having the right skills.
Now, the foundation is targeting young farmers in a bid to improve their attitudes towards safety.
Training days at agricultural colleges are to be held to get young farmers to think more about safety.
A pilot, which took place at SRUC’s Barony campus in Dumfries last week, saw students being shown mock-ups of farm accidents before being asked to assess what happened, decide what their first response should be and discuss what could be done to prevent the accident from happening again.