Young farmers highlight dangers of working alone

Cornish Mutual hold a Health and Safety Event with Devon Young Farmers and Bicton College at Partridge Arms Farm, Yeo Mill, Devon.
Cornish Mutual hold a Health and Safety Event with Devon Young Farmers and Bicton College at Partridge Arms Farm, Yeo Mill, Devon.

Safety issues surrounding the often isolated nature of South West farms were addressed recently at the first of two workshops jointly run by Devon Young Farmers, Bicton College, regional insurer Cornish Mutual and the Health & Safety Executive.

The two events being held in Devon this summer involve practical demonstrations to identify on-farm risks, and offer advice for those working on Westcountry farms on how to best control and manage those risks.

“These kinds of events are about prevention, so if you know you are working in an area with little or no phone signal then you should notify someone of where you will be, and when you expect to be back.”

Nick Creasy Devon YFC County organiser

Working in isolation is the theme of this year’s workshops given the specific health and safety issues it can create for farmers, especially in the Westcountry where many farms are in remote areas. Farms in the South West often have black spots, or areas with no phone signal, which can leave farmers in danger of not being able to get the help they need if an accident occurs.

Nick Creasy, Devon YFC County organiser, said the two farms hosting the workshops had been specifically chosen for their isolated positions on the edges of Exmoor and Dartmoor to demonstrate this point.

“The two farms we are using for these events are typical of many farms in the region which are in hard to reach locations,” he said.

“These workshops aim to encourage farmers to make a log of where there is and is not a mobile signal on their land. If the farmer needs assistance, they will then know the closest place to get a signal in order to call for help.

“These kinds of events are about prevention, so if you know you are working in an area with little or no phone signal then you should notify someone of where you will be, and when you expect to be back.

“We are also making young farmers better aware of specific technology that can help, such as the Devon Air Ambulance app which works even when there is no mobile phone signal. These workshops are about educating young people to get into good habits early. ”

Young farmers taking part in the workshops were also shown emergency first aid techniques, including how to put themselves into the recovery position if they are on their own and waiting for help to arrive.

Alan Goddard, managing director of Cornish Mutual, said: “As a trusted insurer working in communities across the South West region and being so heavily involved in the agricultural sector, reducing the number of serious injuries and deaths on regional farms is a high priority for us.

“Our field force team are well aware of the issues that can affect our Members working on remote farms. We continue to support these important educational events as part of our own farm safety activity and would like to encourage anyone involved in agriculture to sign up for the next workshop.”

The next Farm Health & Safety event will be held on Thursday, July 16 from 10am - 3pm at Broadaford farm, Newton Abbot. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The event is recognised by the Health and Safety Executive and will cost £5, which will be donated to Farming Community Network.

To book your place, please contact Bryony on 01392 272189 or email skills@devonyfc.co.uk.

For more advice on safety in and around farms visit the Cornish Mutual website: www.cornishmutual.co.uk/farmsafe.