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Pause, stop and think to get home safely

This month, I would like to take the opportunity to talk about something I feel very strongly about- the safety of Welsh farmers.
Monday 02 April 2012

In the glorious weather we've been enjoying it makes it all the more unpleasant to face the stark reality that farming is one of the most dangerous professions in Wales.

In the last 10 years there have been 43 deaths on Welsh farms.  It's a grim fact and things need to change, and I am committed to doing all I can to make this happen.

The persistently high level of deaths and serious injury on our farms has been a big cause for concern for all those linked to the industry, and so, by us working together we have a very good chance of making sure that every farmer is equipped with the knowledge they need to come home to their families safe and sound after a day's work.

The on-farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales is an agreement between many of the organisations representing the agricultural industries, to work in partnership to change dangerous behaviour and in turn, constantly reduce the number of serious incidents and fatalities on Welsh farms.

These organisations have all pledged commitment to a safer farming industry in Wales, and to promoting best practice in terms of on-farm health and safety procedures.

Those signed up to the charter include CLA Wales, Forestry Commission Wales, The Farm Crisis Network. FUW, Hybu Cig Cymru, Lantra, NFU Cymru, NFU Mutual, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) Wales, Welsh Government and Young Farmers' Clubs (YFC) Cymru.

Our key messages to farmers and others that work on farms, is simply to pause, stop and think about whether you are putting yourself or others in a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation while you work.

If the answer to this question is yes, you need to find an alternative way of completing that particular task.  I understand entirely that as a hard working farmer, your time is of the essence, but nothing is a bigger priority than safeguarding your life.

Health and Safety has to be one of the ultimate considerations for farmers. Many accidents taking place on Welsh farms every year result in huge personal loss to friends and families, and some could be preventable with simple changes in behaviour and attitude.

Not only is the personal pain unbearable in itself, there can often be further consequences including threats to the future viability of the individual farming businesses, leading to yet further devastation.

I urge all farmers again to employ the simple mantra of pause, stop and think in every task, every day.  Taking just a few seconds to make sure you're not putting yourself or others in a potentially threatening position can make a lifetime of difference not just to yourself, but to all those who love and depend on you.

 

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Author:

Alun Davies AM

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes
 

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