Meghan Waldron, expert health and safety lawyer at Lupton Fawcett answers your questions.

Statistically, agriculture is a high risk industry with a greater number of fatal accidents per annum than any other industry sector.

What are the main risks in agriculture?

Some of the main areas of risk identified by HSE are as follows:-

  • Farm vehicles
  • Working at height
  • Livestock
  • Machinery
  • Electricity
  • Building work

 

The law requires agricultural business owners and workers to ensure, in so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and of anyone affected by the business, such as visitors to your premises.

How can the risks be managed?

As an employer you should ensure that you are familiar with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The black letter law can be a difficult read, and in many ways the practical application of the law is what is important. Fortunately there is a more easily read guidance available below:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg65.htm

It will not be possible to completely eliminate all risks but you should take all steps that are reasonably practicable to ensure that staff work in a safe environment.

Risk assessments should be carried out which involve identifying ‘hazards’ in the workplace, calculating the risk that someone could be hurt by that hazard, identifying precautions that can be taken and implementing these precautions to ensure that the risks are prevented.

What should I do if someone is injured?

Obviously you need to deal with first aid, calling the emergency services etc.

You should also seek immediate legal advice from an expert regulatory solicitor as an investigation or prosecution can have serious consequences. You, or members of your staff, may be interviewed and an on-site investigation may be carried out by the HSE.

It is vital that you seek immediate representation, as how you approach the aftermath of an incident may determine how the matter is ultimately dealt with. You should contact your insurer immediately.

Employers should also be aware of their duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013. In certain circumstances employers and self-employed people who are in control of work premises are obligated to report certain serious work place accidents.

What should I do if I am investigated for an alleged H & S breach?

An investigation and subsequent prosecution can have serious consequences for businesses and individuals. There are a number of different offences and sentences can include unlimited fines and prison sentences.

If you or your agricultural business faces investigation or prosecution then you should seek immediate expert representation. In some cases your insurance company may be able to cover the costs of representation, which is why you should contact your insurer immediately.

The Regulatory & Corporate Defence team at Lupton Fawcett are experts at dealing with Health & Safety investigations and prosecutions. Our team can support and advise you throughout any investigation and subsequent court proceedings.

Contact Meghan Waldron or Jeremy Scott on 07971 520407 or 0113 2802125.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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