Inspection and enforcement priorities in agriculture and the wider land based industries
This guidance provides information and advice on priorities for inspection and enforcement in agriculture and the wider land based industries.
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.
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”.
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.
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:
- Tractors, Fork Lift Trucks and Telehandlers:
- General condition – including brakes and steering, mirrors/visibility
- Rollover protection
- Braking systems
- Tipping hazards eg overhead power lines
- Provision / use of helmets
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.
- machinery guarding
- machinery maintenance i.e. clearing blockages, power isolation.
(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:
- Working on or near fragile roofs
- Access to heights / catwalks / valley gutters etc. and use of cages on FLTs / telehandlers etc.
- Safe use of ladders
For further information see the Falls section of the HSE agriculture website.
(d) Other important issues include:
- Cattle handling - provision of suitable handling facilities. Injury from bulls and cattle to workers and members of the public.
- Moving, flying or falling objects – including the handling of bales and bale stacks
- Unprotected slurry pits/underground tanks/grain pits including work in confined spaces.
- Child safety
- Manual handling – including the use of appropriate handling/lifting aids and training in safe lifting techniques
- Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis
- Zoonoses – including in particular the risk of E.coli O157 or cryptosporidium infection to members of the public/farm visitors; and
- Storage and use of pesticides/veterinary medicines and treatments – including sheep dips.
- Worker training and competences – including the uptake of Vocational Qualifications in managing health and safety in agriculture
- Accommodation- safe use of LPG in caravans and similar accommodation is important in respect of accommodation provided for agency and temporary workers. Further guidance is available on the UKLPG website.
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.
- The competence of tree workers
- The management of forestry operations
- The selection and management of arboriculture contractors
- The use of chainsaws
- Harvesting operations – including work near overhead power lines
- Taking down of edge or dangerous trees
- Access into/working in trees and provision for aerial rescue
- Use of machinery e.g. wood chippers and stumper grinders
- Noise and vibration
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:
- Selection and management of amenity contractors
- Competence of operators and managers/supervisors
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
Where appropriate all FOD divisions (except London)
Recording & Reporting
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.)
FOD Divisions should also provide quarterly narrative reports via the quarterly Dashboard reporting process. It is anticipated that these will include summary details of:
- numbers of premises visited; enforcement action (notices and prosecutions); and
- any other interesting issues to note.
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.
Vulnerable and migrant workers are employed in this sector. Inspectors need to be mindful of diversity issues.
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:
For further information and assistance please contact:
Agriculture Safety Section
Agriculture Safety Team or Agriculture Health
Education & Employment Team