The issue of health and safety on farms and agricultural businesses is one where many farmers and operatives often need to seek help.
This can apply to practical issues, local or national legislation, as well as immediate emergencies. Running a farm or related industry can be quite an isolated business, and it is important that whoever is running it is aware of the help that is available, and makes use of the wide resources available, both in real-time and online.
It is important to identify firstly what help is needed, before deciding who to approach. This is likely to start with a risk analysis of the farm and its environment, and understanding of how the risks can be managed and which need to be insured, and what training may be needed for any or all operatives.
Safety training is a big issue on farms and related environments.
Historically most training was seen as being done on the job, but that has changed significantly in recent years, in large part due to the Internet.
Many local colleges and universities also offer degrees and programs in all types of farm management and safety, and they are often an ideal source for first contact
Universities and colleges often have specific dedicated units dealing with health and safety relating to agricultural matters, either that they teach as part of their course or which are required by local statute.
In addition to these, many colleges of health training for nurses and doctors are also an excellent resource as well as veterinary medicine colleges.
Universities and colleges can sometimes seem a bit remote, but in this area are genuinely keen to help where ever possible.
They are often able to advise on risk management, and the best type of training available. Many colleges also offer online training, and may even be able to devise specific programs for a particular branch of forming if required.
If they are unable to help with a specific requirement, they are likely to be able to recommend another resource or safety experts may be able to be more help.
Other sources of help
The other areas of help tend to fall into two categories of Public and Private.
The areas they may be able to help and will depend upon the specific need identified by the farm management, who can then either approach the relevant body or company to see if they can assist.
As a general guide, the public sources of help relate to areas such as traffic laws and road hazards, where the local police department is possibly the first place to call.
Alternatively local state legislature may be able to help get some reason the local police or fire department are unable.
In the event of any fatality that may occur in relation to farm or agricultural activity, the local county coroner will be involved and may be able to offer guidance in specific areas.
The other public sources of help generally relate to local or national government.
They will have specific departments relating to agriculture and health, as well as many others. These two departments in particular should have a wealth of experience and materials available specifically to help in these areas.
This can include training as well as all types of risk management tools that are available.
Many local governments also have specific teams dedicated to helping small businesses, as well as large ones. A lot of farm management practices could well find succour sources invaluable.
The sources of help available that are private tend to be companies or businesses who work in the agricultural industry.
They can be helpful either by way of providing advice or information, or by helping in the event of a problem emergency.
In terms of health and safety management and training, businesses who work in the electrical service industry, machinery and equipment dealers and private business safety consultants are often willing to provide details of programs and training regarding their services or the industry more generally.
Sales representatives of all products especially pesticides are often willing to provide safety information and training either as part of their sales program, or as an additional benefit in order to try and secure a sales lead.
It is always worth being aware of the fact that if an accident or emergency happens on a farm, it is highly likely that it will take a while for any emergency services to rise, given the remote nature of most farms and their distance from local communities.
It is highly important to recognise the need for on-site training regarding first aid and manual handling, including CPR. First aid training should be as extensive as possible to include items such as to how to deal with burns, electric shocks etc.
It is also important that the former management should have lists of all local emergency contacts with phone numbers, e-mail and websites readily available this should include all local doctors and nurses, emergency poison helplines, volunteer fire departments, and all types of emergency services such as ambulances etc.