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Employment Law Advisory Services Ltd (ELAS) are working together with farm owners to help protect themselves from the ever- increasing number of deaths and injuries on their land.

The ELAS Agricultural Safety Passport has been developed for all farm workers to undertake. The passport is designed to provide piece of mind to farm owners that all their staff, however experienced, understand the importance of safety while carrying out their day-to-day jobs. The Agricultural Safety

Passport is free to farm owners allowing them to train all of their employees, whether that is family members, seasonal staff or migrant workers.

ELAS recognised the need for this type of scheme after the Health and Safety Executive revealed that agriculture has one of the worst fatal accident records of any employment sector. With one farm worker death each week and more than 2,000 reported accidents every year, this is much more than other dangerous industries such


Despite the essential HSE requirements, many contractors do not apply an effective HAV risk management, and a recent investigation by Reactec highlights the benefits of digital monitoring.

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is an industrial disease which mainly affects those workers using hand-held vibrating tools such as drills, chain-saws, disc cutters and more. The condition is also known as Vibration White Finger (VWF) or dead finger. Unfortunately, damages caused by HAVS are permanent; which is why workers continuously exposed to vibrations in the range of 5-2000 Hz must be aware of the high risk.

HSE regulations order that employers must protect the staff from vibration exposure due to vibratory equipment; and that actions be taken in order to lower HAVS exposure through appropriate and continual digital monitoring. A recent analysis, published by Reactec, highlights the major oversight in the tender processes for projects and services involving power tools.

Digital monitoring produces more accurate data, which eventually lead to better decisions to help reduce vibration exposure. Real-time auditing allows workers to know exactly where they are in relation to their allowable exposure whilst providing assurance that they are not damaging

their health while working. It has been proved that a paper-based monitoring system often produces misleading data due to staff not completing logs correctly, while employers who have a digital monitoring system in place can rely on highly accurate data which is easily collectable and readable.

Solicitors, Asons also advise that smokers may have to cope with an even higher risk, as smoking causes blood vessels to constrict and the blood flow to reduce: therefore smoking cessation is highly

recommended. Other drugs that inhibit blood flow should also be avoided.

Unfortunately there is no cure for the damages caused by Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is why employer negligence should not be tolerated. Workers who have been diagnosed with this condition do not have to hesitate seeking legal advice. Support from an Industrial Disease specialist is essential in order to prove any employer’s negligence and help with claims . 07

as construction or manufacturing.

What is more, failure to make farm workers aware of safety can have a financial effect on resource- stretched farmers as failure due to this can make them liable for uncapped fines and imprisonment. A farm owner was recently fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £40,000 after an inexperienced employee was killed handling dangerous machinery.

Wayne Dunning, lead Health and Safety Consultant at

ELAS, said: “The agriculture industry continues to score the highest in ill-heath according to the HSE, the results of which are devastating to farmers, their workers and families. Farm owners working together with ELAS can go some way towards tackling what is a very prevalent issue in the agricultural community. Ensuring they strike a balance between making a good living and ensuring that they do so safely.”

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