Having a health and safety policy specific to your business will clearly outline your expectations, individual risks and how these risks will be managed. A policy provides your staff with clear guidance for tasks and responsibilities and ensures you are compliant with current workplace law.
Your team are an asset to your business; getting them and yourself home safe from work each day needs to be a priority for everyone.
Work out what farm activities, equipment or features have the potential to cause harm and list these with your team. The team may have noticed risks that you were not aware of. Turning this list into a formal document then creates a risk register.
It's a great way to get the whole team involved, gives everyone a shared responsibility and you are more likely to get team 'buy-in' when everyone feels included in the process.
You don’t need to spend time identifying and analysing every possible risk on farm; you should focus on risks that could result in injury or ill-health.
Remember, not all risks are obvious. Loud machinery can cause hearing loss with prolonged exposure, handling animals can result in illness like Leptosporosis.
Managing risks on farm is the responsibility of the whole team. You are required to do what is 'reasonably practicable' meaning what is reasonably able to be done in the circumstances. Look at each risk and decide together whether you can reasonably and practicably eliminate, minimise or isolate each one and take the necessary steps to do so.
Remember, any Health, Safety and Wellbeing policy is a living document and as changes happen on farm, e.g. new machinery is purchased, or a new chemical is being used; the risks and management practices for these need to added, old ones removed, and changes recorded.
Simply providing training and PPE (personal protective equipment) to staff is not enough to minimise risk; the policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly and discussed at team meetings. Try the health and safety meeting minutes template that can be found in the resource library along with other health and safety resources.
Communicating with contractors
Communication is vital when managing risk and includes communicating with outside contractors who may do work on your farm, e.g. silage or fencing contractors.
It is important to know when the contractor is on and off farm, and that you and the contractor (or the contractor’s employer)understand and work to both parties’ Health and Safety policy.
To ensure your contractors are aware of risks on your farm, use the contractor checklist template.