Farmers’ safety lesson

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MORE than 300 farmers went along to a centre near Ponteland last week to get to grips with health and safety in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

The free training event at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus, organised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), provided information on the main hazards faced by workers in the agricultural sector.

It focused on practical demonstrations that were set up around the college campus on workplace transport, machine safety, working at height, handling livestock, safe lifting and lift, truck and transport operations.

HSE Principal Inspector Eileen Anderson said: “Many farmers are self-employed or run small family businesses so we wanted to make sure they were not putting themselves, their family members and their livelihoods at risk.

“Good health and safety management just means controlling risks, for example cutting out unplanned events that can cost time and money, even if no-one is injured.

“The event offered simple tips that won’t cost a lot to put into practice and also gave attendees an opportunity to catch up with other local farmers and share industry knowledge.”

Figures published in June 2012 showed that 33 fatal injuries to agriculture workers were recorded between April 2011 and March 2012 – a rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.

David Wear, programme area leader for land-based training at the Kirkley Hall campus, said: “We were delighted to be able to host such an important event for the HSE, which is working with the farming community in our region to ensure safe working practices.”

Northumberland College offers a range of courses suitable for the agricultural industry, including apprenticeship training and NPTC Certificate of Competence training in areas such as tractor driving, safe use of pesticides and safe use of sheep dips.

For more information, call 01670 841229, email advice.centre@north land.ac.uk or visit www.northum berland.ac.uk