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Clarification on ‘Children on farm machinery’

Prohibition on driving vehicles and machines

It is illegal to allow a child under 13 to ride on or drive agricultural selfpropelled machines (such as tractors) and other specified farm machinery while it is being used in the course of agricultural operations or is going to or from the site of such operations.

Prohibition on children riding on machines, vehicles or implements

No child under 13 years old can be carried on a tractor, self-propelled agricultural machine, or a machine or implement mounted on, towed or propelled by a tractor or other vehicle, including a machine or agricultural implement drawn by a horse.

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Translated Safety Posters launched

At this year’s Cereals event we will be launching our new range of foreign language safety message posters; these posters will provide key safety messages in many of the major eastern European languages.

The conveniently sized A4 posters are specifically designed to be displayed in your workshop, restroom and staff accommodation, and cover the following important topics:

•  Lifting
•  Working with machinery
•  Fire
•  Working outdoors
•  Emergencies
•  Ladders
•  Tractors
•  Electrics and machinery
•  Slips, trips and falls
•  Driving

These posters represent good value at just £49.95 for the full set of 10; in a language of your choice.

Posters are available free (in electronic format) to Safety Revolution clients in two languages of your choice, and this is for each of the full set of 10 posters.

Examples of our safety posters will be on display at our stand: Stand 227

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Answers to Agricultural Wages Board questions

Answers
1. Within 2 months and which must contain their main terms and conditions of employment.
2. There are 6 grades starting with grade 1 for a new starter to the industry to grade 6 for farm manager. In the categories you have graded workers, Full-time flexible worker. Part-time flexible worker, Apprentice and Trainee.
3. £6.00
4. £23.78
5. 1 October
6. 31 days made up of 24 days leave plus 5 of the additional days listed in the Agricultural Wages List.
7. True
8. £50
9. 3 days
10. 13 weeks

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Handling Animals Safely

Often mistakes are made due to complacency, if you have handling facilities – USE THEM – don’t take shortcuts. If you don’t have the right facilities, put them in. They will cost you a lot less than someone’s life. With fewer and fewer people working in farming, the need for proper facilities such as pens, races and crushes is more important than ever.

If you work with animals many of the hazards will be well known to you. The ones most likely to cause injury are; transport movements in lorries or with forklifts; handling large animals; manual handling; slips trips and falls and finally falls from height. Of course many injuries are caused by a combination of the above and often by violent or unpredictable movements by the animal. These cannot often be accounted for but measures to reduce risk can be implemented and you should enable staff to be;

– able to use handling and other safety equipment provided;
– aware of the dangers when handling cattle and be supervised until they are competent;
– able to work calmly with the cattle, with a minimum of shouting, impatience or unnecessary force;
– in good health and properly trained in safe work methods.

Training in livestock handling is available from training groups, colleges and individual training providers.

The requirement to ensure that staff comply with the above is placed squarely on the employer and is an absolute requirement. There is no legal upper or lower age limit for cattle handling, as individuals capabilities vary widely, but children under 13 years old should not normally be allowed to enter cattle housing nor handle cattle. Many incidents involving cattle occur to people beyond normal retirement age, when they are less agile. Consider the risks carefully before anyone over 65 works with cattle, and if they do – what they can safely do.

Every farm that handles cattle should have proper handling facilities which are well-maintained and in good working order. A race and a crush suitable for the animals to be handled are essential. Makeshift gates and hurdles are not sufficient, and will result in less efficient handling as well as risking injury. Never attempt to treat or work on any animal that is held by gates alone, or that is otherwise free to move at will. If you have to attend to downer cattle, or animals in loose boxes or isolation pens, and it is not possible to secure them, make sure you have an adequate escape route and will not be crushed if the animal rolls or stands suddenly. Special equipment is needed for handling stock bulls out of the pen.

Working with animals every day it is not always easy to anticipate risks however, for example, bull-beef animals may not have developed all the aggressive traits accompanying maturity, but they can never be regarded as safe. Ensure safe management practices are in place from the start so that you are not put at risk when the low-risk calf becomes a potentially dangerous semi-adult.

If you have an animal that is habitually aggressive or difficult to handle, consider whether you should cull it from the herd. If this is not an option, you should ensure your equipment and systems of work are capable of dealing with it, and that staff, and other people such as vets, are aware of the potential difficulties.

All of this should be based on a sound health and safety policy and procedures and arrangements to manage safety across the whole farm.

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Fire – recent law; landlord’s obligations for commercial and domestics property lets.

Essentially the owner or occupier is now responsible for undertaking a fire risk assessment. As with all new legislation it is subject to interpretation and clarification through case law. However, as I write, there isn’t yet any case law to assist us in this area.

On a site where there are say five office tenants with adjoining buildings or sharing common access and parking is one of those tenants going to take responsibility on behalf of all the tenants for organising what to do in the event of a fire? Unlikely. What will happen if the fire service arrives on the periphery of the site to find confusion or panic? Probably nothing until they are sure that people are properly accounted for and that they are not going to run someone over.

In the case of office or industrial unit letting and particularly where there are multiple tenants on one site (such as occupying adjacent units in a farm or estate yard) the landlord should have undertaken a fire risk assessment and have discussed emergency procedures with tenants so that, in the event of a fire, procedures are understood and followed uniformly by tenants, personnel safety is prioritised and the fire service can proceed as quickly as possible with tackling the fire.

In the case of residential property there is perhaps understandably some confusion over what should be done. Whilst the property is residential and for domestic use it is also being let on a commercial basis to tenants. In our view this therefore creates the need for a fire risk assessment. In general the shorter the term of the lease or rental period the greater the responsibility is on the landlord.

There should be a formal risk assessment, undertaken by a competent person, resulting in a policy and procedures including fire drills. Where five or more persons are employed there must be a written risk assessment and arrangements for managing fire safety. There must also be regular inspection to ensure that  for example items such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are where they should be and are working properly.

Oliver Dale, o.dale@safetyrevolution.co.uk, 07766 433433