Farming is an inherently hazardous business, which is why we – and any other business or body that takes modern farming seriously – welcome the Farm Safety week initiative.
Run by the NFU and Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety week asks farmers and farming-related businesses to share stories of behaviour change and innovation when it comes to health and safety. The NFU is looking for examples of how farmers have made safety improvements, and what inspired them to change.
The history of farming – both distant and present – is laden with tragic tales of accidents that may have been avoided, and it is often personal experiences that motivate farmers to change their approach to health and safety. It is hoped that the sharing of such stories will inspire the wider farming community to alter attitudes towards farm safety for the better, so that it becomes less likely that similar tragedies occur in the future.
Hope from tragedy as one family campaigns for better farm safety
Only very recently, the staff at P.X. were given a talk by the mother of a teenager tragically killed in a farming accident deemed by the courts to have been the fault of his employers. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) stated that his death could have been prevented if the employer had managed the risks involved and ensured that the trailer he had been told to used had been properly maintained.
Nobody wants to see a repeat of such tragedies, and now his incredibly brave and inspiring mother and wider family is urging farmers to service trailers regularly. Supported by Cambridgeshire police and the HSE, the Tilly Your Trailer campaign will see trailers that have been checked and serviced by a qualified mechanic given a distinctive sticker so that drivers know the equipment is safe.
P.X. Farms takes safety incredibly seriously
Health and safety is of paramount importance to P.X. Farms. It has to be. If you’re operating heavy duty farming or haulage vehicles, you need to be doing so to the highest safety standards, both for your own protection and those around you.
Having such standards is not only a mark of our own highly professional outlook as a forward-looking agribusiness, but also of the extremely high level of care we have for the people that work for P.X. Farms and the customers we operate on behalf of.
What are we doing to improve safety?
To maintain such high health and safety standards, we invest in regular up-to-the-minute training and new ways of keeping our operations as safe as possible.
Recently, we held a session with staff where we looked at images and footage of typical farming activities in progress and, as a team, discussed what those pictured were potentially doing wrong and how they could improve their approach to both safety and efficiency.
We’ve always recognised the importance of well-maintained equipment and have regularly tested and fixed ours accordingly. But this year we decided to take one step further by inviting main manufacturers, like Horsch, to send along their engineers to appraise our equipment and make further repairs where necessary.
An example of our investment in new safety technology is the new CCTV system we have installed on our latest fleet of lorries. These cameras provide all-round view to improve visibility and safety of the surrounding environment, and record in real-time to provide footage that helps us to identify areas where we need to support our drivers with training. Another example is the recent purchase of an on-site cherry picker to reduce the need for our team to go up and down ladders.
We have also invested £100,000 in a new fuelling system to replace our existing one and improve safety when it comes to refuelling our farming equipment over long distances.
Positive attitudes towards health and safety
Ultimately, anyone working for P.X. Farms must be acutely aware of the vital importance of health and safety, and willing to continue to learn about ways to make farming as safe as possible.
By having the highest possible health and safety standards and attitudes ingrained in them, we enhance the safety of our P.X. Family members (and we like to consider everyone that works for P.X. as being part of one big farming family) and their enjoyment of our wonderful industry and way of life.
As custodians of our local environment, we have also recently created a dedicated a professional entrance to Scotland Farm for large vehicles at the roundabout, which has the added benefit of moving traffic movements away from the residential area. We are also at pains to ensure that any local roads we use are cleared of any potentially hazardous mud and that hedges are well-maintained.
To us, this all part of what it is to be a considerate and safety conscious farming business.