NFUS Mission to Improve Health and Safety on Scottish Farms

Scottish farming has a frightening record on Health and Safety incidents and NFU Scotland is keen to work with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and its members to try to make Scotland’s farms safer places to work. NFU Scotland objects to the HSE proposals for cost recovery however, which it sees as disproportionate, unfair and potential destructive to the collaboration needed to generate a new culture of safety within the industry.

That was the message delivered by NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller, and Chief Executive Scott Walker, as they gave evidence today at an inquiry being conducted by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.

The Committee is investigating the effectiveness of Health and Safety regulation in Scotland; the effectiveness of the HSE’s relationships with relevant bodies; the impacts of Health and Safety regulation on businesses; the accuracy of reporting of workplace incidents; whether HSE resources could be targeted more appropriately and how any reduction in the HSE workforce might affect Scottish industry.

Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller, said:

“NFU Scotland recognises that agriculture has a frightening record when it comes to health and safety. Farming is always going to be a dangerous industry as farmers often find themselves working alone – under pressure and in extreme weather conditions – with heavy machinery and livestock. Making it safe is therefore a real challenge.

“If we are to improve things we have to get real buy-in from farmers and change their mindset, so that they understand the dangers they often face while working and make the extra effort to cut out risk.  While we appreciate the considerable budgetary cuts Government departments are making, the HSE’s proposed approach to cost recovery is likely to drive a wedge between farmers and the HSE – the very body which is meant to promote health and safety.  This could also reduce an already slow trickle of accident reporting, which is a crucial indicator of the main risk areas on farms.

“We need a collaborative approach between HSE and the industry, which NFU Scotland is eager to help broker. NFU Scotland is looking at how it can commit its own resources, especially at a regional level, to focus on key areas of safety.

“Following today’s meeting, the Scottish Affairs Committee has kindly offered to set up a forum between NFU Scotland and HSE to discuss future strategy, which is a very positive outcome.”


Contact Wendy Fleming on 0131 472 4020

Date Published:

News Article No.: 177/11

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