Farming : Risks and Responsibilities
Farming is a rewarding but yet hazardous occupation. You, as the farmer, have certain responsibilities to prevent accidents from happening, both on and off your farm. If you do not take the appropriate steps, you run the risk of losing your farm.
The Farmer, the Employer
If you have farm workers, then like other employers, you must comply with obligations under the Health and Safety Legislation, including;
Safety Statement– a Safety Statement may be required. This written document must
- Identify the hazards on the farm (e.g. animals and machinery)
- Assess the risk of the hazard happening
- Identify the measures that can be put in place to prevent/reduce the risk.
Safe Place of Work– This includes all areas of the farm. Proper safeguards should be in place to prevent injuries, for example fencing a slurry pit.
Safe Plant and Machinery– Maintain machinery, ensure it is not faulty and have proper guards in place when using machinery, for example fitting a guard to a PTO shaft.
Safe Employees– Ensure all employees are properly trained, for example, ensure all employees are competent and trained in livestock handling and manual handling.
You should also check that you have appropriate Employer’s Liability Insurance in place to cover claims arising out of accidents that may occur.
The Farmer, the Land Owner
- You have a duty to protect members of the public visiting and others on your farm. Your Safety Statement should also identify the potential risks to those persons.
- A particular risk may be posed to children who are on the farm. Children under the age of 14 should not be allowed to drive tractors on the farm and the Health and Safety Authority has set out specific guidelines to be followed by children 14 or over when driving a tractor. A child must be 16 years before driving a tractor in a public place.
- You should discuss your policy with your Insurance Company to make sure you have adequate Public Liability Insurance in place. Also, check if the policy covers personal injuries* to persons who are not employees or members of the public, such as family members.
The Farmer, the Livestock Owner
- As well as making sure that livestock are herded, handled and loaded properly, there are also specific rules about the escape of animals. Under legislation, you, the farmer can be held responsible for damage caused by livestock that escape onto the road. You need to ensure the proper fencing and other measures are taken to prevent this from occurring.
- Under legislation, if muck is left on the road, which could substantially lead to an accident, then you, the farmer could be liable. For example, if your livestock cross a road for milking, ensure the road is swept after the crossing.
- Again you need to discuss all issues with your Insurance company to make sure that you have appropriate insurance in place to deal with these risks.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.