IN the last ten years, 388 farmers, their family members or farm workers have been killed on British farms and of these, 38 were in Wales. Thousands more have suffered serious injuries which still impact daily and changed lives forever.

The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), a collaboration between all the key organisations representing agriculture and allied industries in Wales, is determined to reduce these stubbornly high statistics by persuading farmers of all ages to attend a regional half day workshop on general farm safety.

Part of an ongoing awareness programme, the first two events, which will be held from 1pm to 4pm on May 17 at Coleg Glynllifon in Llandwrog LL54 5DU and on May 18 at Gelli Aur, Coleg Sir Gar SA32 8NJ, will be delivered by Farming Connect. They will each comprise a series of short, practical demonstrations or presentations covering topics including the safe handling of livestock; working safely at heights; operating all-terrain vehicles and farm machinery including lift trucks and tractors, and the handling of dangerous chemicals.

Brian Rees, one of the UK’s most well-respected trainers on farm safety, who chairs the WFSP, says that these are the areas of work where a particularly high incidence of accidents occur.

“If more farmers are taught to recognise the risks by attending one of our workshops, and then take the necessary steps to reduce them, we’ll be making a very positive start on tackling the problem.”

“Every fatality, every injury, every illness is one too many which can have catastrophic, life changing effects for farming families.

“I would urge farmers of all ages to take an afternoon off to attend one of these events, including students and young farmers just starting out in the industry.

“It may just prove a prove a life-saver for some as we’ll be showing you that there are many ways in which you can reduce the risks of accidents and injuries to you, your family and employees or to individuals visiting your farm such as vets, professional advisers or delivery personnel.

“Statistics prove that you are now six times more likely to be killed working on a farm than at a building site, so getting up to speed with all aspects of farm-safety is critically important.

“You are never too young or too old to learn and it could mean the difference between life and death or the loss of your livelihood,” said Mr. Rees.

Eligible farmers registered with Farming Connect can undertake an e-learning module on farm Health & Safety, which is a pre-requisite if you want to apply for machinery handling courses. For further information and to download a leaflet on farm safety, visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnect. Further information on all aspects of farm safety is available at www.hse/gov.uk/agriculture

Booking for a ‘Saving lives and livelihoods’ farm safety awareness event is essential either online at www.gov.wales/farmingconnect or by calling the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813.

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