Risk management: HSE launches its latest inspection initiative focusing on the risks of agricultural building maintenance

March 22nd 2018

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a risk management initiative which highlights the most significant risks in the agricultural sector associated with building maintenance: working at height and handling asbestos.

It is also reminding farmers to take simple steps to avoid, or manage, risk when carrying out building maintenance as it launches its latest inspection initiative.

HSE statistics show that in 2016/17 there were 27 deaths and 13,000 non-fatal injuries to workers in Great Britain’s agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors. Under the new initiative HSE inspectors will be visiting farms across the country this month to promote the control of risks during building maintenance, such as falling from a roof or ladder. The aim is to promote risk management, to prevent accidents occurring and to protect farmers, their workers and contractors.

Working at height

Falls are the second highest cause of death on British farms. Each year at least eight people die falling from a height. Those who survive suffer broken bones and life changing consequences. Falls often happen from roofs, lofts, ladders, vehicles, bale stacks, and unsuitable access equipment, such as buckets or potato boxes.

Throughout the HSE inspection initiative, inspectors will be checking how the risk of falling from height is being controlled during building maintenance including: whether work at height can be avoided, if the right equipment is being used and is in the appropriate condition, if a specialist contractor has been used for high-risk tasks, if there are signs to warn people of fragile roofs and whether the work is being carried out by workers with the right training and skills. All these should be included in a risk management plan.

Handling asbestos

Breathing in asbestos continues to kill many people every year. It is dangerous to drill or cut and everyone working on the farm needs to know where it is and how to avoid breathing in the harmful fibres.

A risk management assessment will identify whether there is an up to date plan showing where asbestos is present on a farm, whether asbestos is labelled or marked, that workers and contractors are aware of where the asbestos is located and how the removal of asbestos is planned and organised with a safe method of disposal.

Lycetts Risk Management Services can provide all the required support and resource to establish or improve a risk management plan, while also offering a wide range of health and safety consultancy and training services to keep you and your employees safe at work. Contact us now on 0191 232 1151 or email us for further information.

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Richard Wade

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