Once you've made the decision to be healthy and safe, and you've put the effort into thinking about your risks and how to manage them, you need to think about them every day.
Being healthy and safe at work is in minds and behaviour, not in documents. It needs to be visible, it needs to be a part of everyday activity, not just an ‘add-on’ and it requires everyone to be involved.
Looking after yourself and others
The best way to get people (including yourself) to treat health and safety as an everyday activity is to make sure it is part of everyday activity, not just an ‘add-on’.
Here are two things that may help you achieve that:
- Have farm rules (click here for farm rules example)
- When directing tasks, stop and take a moment to consider:
- What needs doing?
- Who is doing it and who needs to know about it?
- How are we going to do it?
- What tools/vehicles etc are needed?
- What are the possible risks?
Getting people started
You want everyone involved and thinking about health and safety, but how do you start? Here are some suggestions.
Make health and safety the first item at any meeting or get together - discuss any incidents, injuries or near misses, see if anyone has any suggestions about new or upcoming seasonal risks, or any new ways of doing things. If any actions come out of it, make sure you note them down in your notebook or diary, and make sure people who weren’t there get informed. Don’t be afraid to ask staff to lead this part of the meeting.
It doesn’t need to be a formal part of a briefing, just: “Ok, so what do we have to look out for?” when planning each day’s work, or seasonal work ahead of time. It’s a chance for people to share their experience and information about what they know about the current state of the farm, or to bring up a maintenance issue that needs addressing.
Keeping people involved
Involving people is a key part of making injury prevention part of your everyday farm routine.
Talking about health and safety doesn’t need to be formal. It’s a chance for people to share their experience and information about what they know about the current state of the farm, or to bring up a maintenance issue that needs addressing. Make it easy for staff to raise health and safety issues, or to make suggestions. Set up a white board, for example, in a place where people regularly go.
It’s also an opportunity to bring up any near-misses, so that the team can learn from others’ experiences. You want to encourage an open environment where people can discuss things that have gone wrong and where people are not afraid to point out when something poses a risk.
At the same time, you may want to discuss wellbeing. Visit our Wellbeing section here.
One of the biggest dangers on farm is assuming that everyone is thinking the same way.
‘Brief back’ is a well-proven method of making sure everyone is on the right track. It is also a great training tool for younger or less experienced staff.
- Outline the task.
- Ask the person/people to work out how they are going to do it.
- Ask them to brief you on:
- what the required outcome is
- what factors they took into account
- how they are going to do the task.
- If you have problems with what they are proposing, think about what factor(s) they have missed. Don’t correct them, instead ask whether they considered these factor(s), and if not, what difference that makes to their plan.
- Once everyone is agreed on the task and the method, they can proceed.
For more information on delegating tasks click here.