ForFarmers has recently offered training workshops to colleagues regarding farm safety and mental health with the aim of increasing awareness of the topics in the agricultural sector.

The three workshops were spread out across the country and were conducted by Stephanie Berkeley of Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies.

Attendees at the training courses were given practical guidance on how to approach safety issues seen while calling on-farm.

With half of the session dedicated to mental health, Berkeley explained how there is a clear link with the mental health of the farmer and the safety of their farm. 

Berkeley said: “Farm safety is everyone’s responsibility. In some cases, the account manager or driver going down the farm drive may be the only person a farmer sees that day. 

“It is also important to understand the signs of someone suffering with poor mental health and to then have the facts and confidence to have challenging conversations around farm safety and mental health, if staff see something on farm.”

Farm safety and mental health

Only 1% of the national work force works in agriculture yet the industry equates for 17% of workplace fatalities.

The main risks are presented by machinery, livestock, working at height and workplace transport.

When looking at mental health, 95% of farmers under 40 say that mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems in the industry.

Managing director at ForFarmers, Mark Cole, said: “Health and safety is extremely important to us at ForFarmers.

“We want to keep colleagues safe and well during their working day. We and our customers work in an industry full of risk.

“A lot of our customers work alone and can be very isolated so we also take mental health very seriously for both customers and employees.”

UK health and safety manager at ForFarmers, Richard Porter, said:

“By undertaking the training, it is hoped account managers visiting customers and prospects are armed with the tools to pick up on any farm safety or mental health concerns.

“Much of the guidance given was also relevant to many of the staff who run their own farming enterprises alongside their ForFarmers role.

“Later in the year, we plan to complete similar training with our drivers. This will be done using the film recorded at the events, making it more accessible and flexible to support our drivers.”