To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce accidental deaths on farms and (b) improve safety in the vicinity of slurry pits.
25 March 2015
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leads on matters of farm safety in Great Britain.
(a) In consultation with key industry stakeholders, HSE has developed an Agriculture Sector Strategy to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents and ill health across this sector. Amongst other things, this includes: HSE supporting the farm safety partnerships in England, Scotland and Wales, in their work to change the culture of the industry and promote professional modern farming – including improving management and control of health and safety risks through industry led farm safety campaigns, such as “Safe Stop” and “Farm Safety Week”; activities targeting young farmers entering the industry such as the NFU Mutual’s Farm Safety Workshops that are being rolled out to agricultural colleges and universities; and delivering an annual programme of Safety and Health Awareness Days for farmers targeted at small and medium sized farms to promote awareness and understanding of common risks and control measures.
(b) HSE has published an Agricultural Information Sheet [http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais9.pdf] which gives guidance on preventing access to slurry storage areas, addressing the precautions necessary to prevent unauthorised access and to manage the risks associated with drowning in slurry stores. HSE’s Agriculture webpages also highlights the risks posed by slurry gas and confined spaces, and the precautions required to avoid being overcome or killed by these gases.
HSE has also worked closely with the Farm Safety Partnership in England in support of their campaign to address the risks from slurry gas. (Stop! Think! Slurry Gas! - http://www.nfuonline.com/business/farm-safety/farm-safety-partnership/campaigns/slurry-safety/). The campaign was launched in May 2014 and includes a leaflet and posters to raise awareness of the risks presented by slurry gas and the precautions farmers should take to protect themselves. The GB partnerships, and the Northern Ireland partnership, which is chaired by HSE Northern Ireland, have freely exchanged campaign materials and information to ensure wide dissemination of the slurry safety message.