Let's make farm safety a priority #FarmSafetyWeek

Let's make farm safety a priority #FarmSafetyWeek

It's vital we all recognise that farm safety starts with ourselves, says Stephanie Berkeley.
Steph Berkley - Farm Safety Foundation.
Stephanie Berkeley is manager at the Farm Safety Foundation, which is once again organising Farm Safety Week.
Yellow Wellies.
Stephanie Berkeley is manager at the Farm Safety Foundation, which is once again organising Farm Safety Week.

Stephanie Berkeley, manager at the Farm Safety Foundation, is an experienced journalist, mental health first aider, and farm safety advocate. Known for her award-winning campaigns and contribution to farm safety literature, she represents the UK in international agricultural safety societies. For more about Stephanie, visit her LinkedIn profile.

As someone who cares deeply about the physical and mental wellbeing of those living and working in agriculture, I'm committed to making farming a safer industry for everyone. For the 11th year in a row, this week (17 to 21 July) marks Farm Safety Week - This year, our theme is Farm Safety Starts with You because, well, it does.

We've come a long way in the past decade, with more than 400 partners supporting our campaign in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. However, with the industry still losing 21 farm workers in 2022/23, our work is far from over. Despite some positive signs, change is not coming fast enough, especially for the thousands of farmers affected by life-changing or life-ending incidents in the UK and Ireland. Our aim this week and beyond is to drive home the importance of safety, prevention, and preparedness in our industry. 

Why farm safety matters

Farming isn’t just a job; it’s a vocation. And unfortunately, it’s an industry with the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland. For an industry that accounts for 1% of the working population, agriculture accounts for 18% of all deaths that happen in the workplace.

During this campaign week, our key objectives include encouraging everyone living and working in farming to adopt safer attitudes and practices. It’s about highlighting the realities of fatal injuries and serious health issues that are all too common in our line of work. 

The role of training

Farm safety isn't just about having the right gear and tools; it’s about education and awareness. That’s why the Farm Safety Foundation and other industry experts helped TIAH develop its new interactive health and safety modules. The Essential Skills Foundations in Farm Safety course equips workers with the necessary knowledge and promotes safety practices.

This course is split into four core modules, plus an optional module on reducing risks when working with livestock. Each module is designed to help all farm workers improve their recognition of hazards, understand how to effectively manage risks, and adopt best practice around reporting incidents.

Farm safety starts with you

Just like our theme for the week, we can’t lose sight of the fact that any change in the industry's attitudes and behaviors starts with each of us. Every farmer, farm worker, and contractor has a role to play. We must keep pushing for a culture where everyone understands their role in keeping the farm safe. It’s not just about protecting ourselves but about ensuring the safety of everyone in our farm community.

It’s time for each of us to take the lead and say, ‘Farm safety starts with me.’ We all need to strive harder to transform attitudes and behaviours towards safety and instill the understanding that proper farm operations are crucial to our wellbeing.

Start your journey to safety today by signing up for the Essential Skills Foundations in Farm Safety course. Let's turn the tide together. 

Join the conversation on social media using the official hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek, and let's raise awareness together.

For more information on ‘Farm Safety Week,’ visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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