Farmers are being told they must pay closer attention to health and safety ahead of upcoming inspections.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has raised concerns over recent livestock handling incidents highlighting that last year eight farmers died as a result of incidents with animals across the UK.

Over the coming months, HSE inspectors will be visiting farms to remind farmers of their duty to protect themselves, their workers and members of the public from the risks of cattle.

The body warns that its inspectors will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements where necessary.

Taking action

Throughout the inspections, HSE will be reminding workers that when working with livestock, they should have the appropriate controls in place:

  • Proper handling facilities, which you keep in good working order;
  • A race and a crush suitable for the animals you handle;
  • Trained and competent workers; and
  • A rigorous culling policy for temperamental animals.

The focus on livestock is part of a programme of inspections over the next 12 months to ensure farmers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.

HSE’s head of agriculture Andrew Turner said: “The campaign focus is timely as last year eight people died on farms in cattle-related incidents – nearly one-quarter of the total deaths on British farms.

Last year, 33 people were killed in agriculture across Britain and those working in the industry need to realise that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming and can be prevented.

“We must not become complacent and accept this as the norm. Farmers should plan their work, know the risks and use the right controls to ensure that everyone can go home healthy from their work.”

HSE has a range of resources and guides available to help those working on the farm manage the risks appropriately.

More information on what topics the inspectors will be looking at when they visit farms can be found in this guide.

The comprehensive guide includes safety advice for working with livestock, noisy environments, pesticides, machinery, quads, and heights.