HSE inspectors to visit farms to highlight fall risks

Inspectors from the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) are visiting farms across the country to ensure farmers avoid falls from great heights.

The visits are part of a new inspection initiative to prevent risks during building maintenance, such as falling from a roof or a ladder.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, falls are the second highest cause of death on British farms and every year at least eight people die falling from a height. Those who survive often suffer broken bones and other life-changing consequences. Farmers will be reminded during the visit of the free HSE guidance on things to do when working at heights.

The inspectors will also be checking how the risk of falling from height is being controlled during building maintenance, if a specialist contractor contractor is being used and if there are signs to warn people of fragile roofs.

They will also be assessing how exposure to asbestos is being prevented and whether there is an up-to-date plan showing where asbestos is present on the farm. The inspectors will also remind farmers that it is dangerous to drill or cut asbestos and everyone working on the farm needs to know where it is and how to avoid breathing it in.

“Across the country, we know that plenty of farmers routinely use the right kit and do building maintenance and repair safely,” said the head of the HSE’s agriculture sector, Rick Blunt.

“Despite this, falls from height are still one of the main causes of death and injury on Britain’s farms, and each year too many farmers are working with asbestos and breathing in dangerous fibres.

“HSE is calling on anyone involved in building maintenance and repair work on farms to use the free guidance from our website to make sure they comply with the law and do the job safely,” added Mr Blunt

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