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Inspection and enforcement priorities in agriculture and the wider land based industries

SIM 01/2010/03

Summary

This guidance provides information and advice on priorities for inspection and enforcement in agriculture and the wider land based industries.

Introduction

Agriculture represents 1.4% of the GB workforce but accounts for 15-20% of reported work related fatalities each year and is a Board priority. The causes of death have remained largely unchanged for many years e.g. workplace transport; struck by falling objects; falls from height; machinery and livestock. The guidance is intended to assist operational staff in identifying activities and topics for inspection and enforcement, and is subject to the application of Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone to the industry.

Action

Reactive investigation/inspection: Topic targets

Whilst carrying out reactive visits to premises to investigate accidents, dangerous occurrences, complaints etc. the opportunity should be taken where appropriate to focus inspection activity on the following key topics and industry areas.

Proactive inspection: Fresh produce sector

It has been agreed that there should be proactive inspection in the fresh produce sector. See Operational guidance “FOD Workplan 2013-14: Fresh Produce Subsector Intervention” for further details. Further information on priorities, benchmarks and guidance on enforcement, is set out in “Inspection of Migrant workers”.

Background

Priorities – The following topics are responsible for the majority of the fatal and major injury accidents and causes of ill health reported in the sector.

Agriculture

(a) Transport

The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture involves moving or overturning vehicles. Transport related deaths continue to account for a significant percentage of all agricultural fatal accidents.

Key issues to consider in respect of workplace transport include:

For further information see the Workplace transport section of the HSE agriculture website.

(b) Machinery safety

Unguarded or inadequately guarded machines continue to be a source of numerous fatal and serious injuries to adults (and children) on farms.

(c) Falls from height

Falls from height are the third highest cause of death in agriculture and a major cause of non-fatal injuries. Most falls can be prevented.

Key issues to consider in respect of falls from heights include:

For further information see the Falls section of the HSE agriculture website.

(d) Other important issues include:

Forestry and arboriculture

The fatal injury rate within the tree work sector is double that of agriculture generally. Eleven per cent of fatalities in agriculture involve tree work.

Whilst carrying out reactive visits to investigate accidents, dangerous occurrences, complaints etc in these sectors, the opportunity should be taken to (where appropriate) to focus inspection activity on the following key topics.

Amenity work (eg grounds maintenance and landscaping)

The amenity industry has a fatal accident rate similar to construction. Serious/major incident rates are not falling and the reports of ill health, e.g. HAVS cases are increasing.

Whilst carrying out reactive visits to investigate accidents, dangerous occurrences, complaints etc in these sectors, the opportunity should be taken to (where appropriate) to focus inspection activity on the following key topics:

Organisation

Timing

Reactive work - Where appropriate the work should take place throughout the work year as and when it arises as a result of accidents/cases of ill health put out for investigation or complaints

Planned work – It has been agreed that there should be proactive inspection in the fresh produce sector. See Operational guidance “FOD Workplan 2013-14: Fresh Produce Subsector Intervention” for further details

Resources

Where appropriate all FOD divisions (except London)

Recording & Reporting

COIN

FOD inspectors should use COIN in the normal way to record visits via inspection reports (case or service order)

Inspectors are also encouraged to share with the Agriculture Sector any issues of particular note (e.g. particular instances of good practice, extremely poor practice, photographs, copies of letter/notices etc.)

Dashboard

FOD Divisions should also provide quarterly narrative reports via the quarterly Dashboard reporting process.  It is anticipated that these will include summary details of:

Feedback

The Agriculture Sector will make use of the COIN reports, dashboard reports, enforcement action (notices and prosecutions) and overall rating scores to produce a summary report in the first quarter of 2014/15.

The findings will be communicated to inspectors via internal briefings (e.g. FOD news).

Health & Safety

Inspectors need to be aware of the guidance on the intranet and in particular the guidance on agricultural premises.

Diversity

Vulnerable and migrant workers are employed in this sector. Inspectors need to be mindful of diversity issues.

Further References

There is extensive information and guidance on health and safety in agriculture and the wider land based sectors on the Intranet and the HSE website including:

Contacts

For further information and assistance please contact:

Agriculture Safety Section
Agriculture Safety Team or Agriculture Health
Education & Employment Team
HSE Nottingham

Updated 2013-03-14