The HSE are focusing inspections on high-risk industries, including agriculture

This is what you need to know to ensure your business doesn’t get caught out.

According to HSE data, agriculture has the poorest record of any industry in Britain, with a fatal injury rate of around 18 times higher than any other industry.

HSE plan to carry out around 20,000 proactive inspections this year to prevent harm, with a focus on the specific issues activities found in high risk industries.

Many of these inspections will focus on agriculture and will review health and safety standards on farms across the country.

What does an inspection involve?

An HSE inspection can happen without notice. An Inspector has the power to enter premises, to take photographs or samples and can require production of documents and records. Inspectors may also ask members of staff to answer questions or provide information, particularly if an accident or fatality has occurred.

What are the consequences of being inspected?

If a breach of health and safety law is found, there are a number of things that the HSE can do:

1. Issue an enforcement notice requiring certain actions to be taken before work can be continued

2. Issue a ‘fee for intervention’ and charge a business for their time spent inspecting the business and identifying any issues

3. Commence a criminal investigation against you, or the business

Health and safety enforcement action can have a significant impact on your business both financial and reputational, so should be taken very seriously.

What a good farm looks like

In order to deal with inspections and avoid any negative consequences, good health and safety management is fundamental for any farming business. Risk assessments should be carried out for all of the real risks related to the business. Common risks to health and safety can include:

• Working with livestock

• Falls from height

• Children

• Working with Machinery

It is important that you have put procedures in place to manage these risks and reduce them as far as reasonably practicable. You should regularly review your procedures to ensure that they are up to date.

What should I do if I am inspected or investigated for an alleged H & S breach?

An investigation and subsequent prosecution can have serious consequences for you and your business.

You should seek immediate expert representation. In some cases your insurance company may be able to cover the costs of representation.

The expert defence team at Lupton Fawcett have assisted many farm businesses facing HSE investigations and prosecutions. The team will support and advise you throughout any investigation and subsequent court proceedings, to ensure the best possible outcome

For further advice or help, please contact Meghan Waldron or Jeremy Scott 24/7/365 on 07971 520407.

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