Andy Guy is Regional Open Farm Sunday Coordinator for the East Midlands. This will be Andy’s tenth Open Farm Sunday and he remains just as excited about the event now as he was back in 2006. Here, he shares some of his Health and Safety top tips.
As I write this piece, in late April, about Health and Safety on Open Farm Sunday, most hosts will be torn between fieldwork and first cut silage but there are important priorities that need your attention ahead of the big day. However, the safety of your visitors, helpers and staff on 7th June is your responsibility thinking ahead now can save a lot of time later.
Here are some of my key pointers below, but do read the H&S guidance given (pages 10 to 14) in the 2015 Host Farmer Handbook.
Always a top priority. Risk assessments help you identify the hazards on your farm and work out how to minimise and control them. The aim is to find all the things that might cause harm to somebody and list them, along with the type of injury that might be inflicted. List what you already do to reduce the risk of injury or harm and work out whether it will be sufficient to protect your visitors. If you need to do more, then record the actions required, who will implement them and when.
One tip, which makes risk assessment easier for me is to find a friend to walk round your farm with you (my self-employed builder pal has proved most useful). A fresh pair of eyes is always helpful!
You’ll find a blank risk assessment form at the back of your Host Farmers Handbook and remember to give a copy of your completed risk assessment form to your helpers.
You need to contact your insurers. Most farm insurance policies cover you for Public Liability and many brokers will be happy to extend the cover to include Open Farm Sunday at no extra cost. You need a minimum of £5 million public liability insurance (if you regularly host school visits you will probably need £10 million).
Hand washing facilities
If your visitors come into contact with farm animals, you need to provide hand washing facilities – running water, liquid soap and paper towels. Refer to the industry code of practice here
Other key points to consider:
- No-go areas, such as the grain bin and fertiliser store: Lock up. Cordon off. Keep visitors away.
- If visitors can climb on static machinery: Remove keys. Limit fuel in the tank. Brakes on and use chocks. Spikes down. Supervise if allowing people into the cab.
- Livestock bio-security: the golden rule is ‘clean in’, ‘clean off’ and keep visiting stock separate from other stock.
- Don’t forget to be aware of your personal safety: Keep your house locked. Be aware of anyone suspicious. Keep valuables locked away or supervised.
Getting the planning right now will mean that the day will run smoothly but, if you have any doubts about H&S talk to your OFS Regional Coordinator – they have years of experience in organising and planning events. Find your nearest OFS Regional Coordinator here and there is lots of H&S information to be found at www.farmsunday.org