'Better farm safety doesn't have to cost a penny'

Former employment solicitor Tom Price is the national farm safety and transport adviser at the National Farmers' Union.

Picture by Neil Squires/PA Wire.

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Tom Price, national farm safety and transport adviser at the National Farmers' Union.

He is based at the union's Stoneleigh headquarters in Warwickshire but during Farm Safety Week he attended this week's 144th Driffield Show where he met farmers and raised awareness of safe practice, and its benefits, on farms.

Here, he answers The Yorkshire Post's questions.

Is farming an inherently dangerous industry?

I don’t think it is any more so than other industries but it has things that differentiate it. Farms are open, working places; public footpaths cut through many farms; they are also homes where there are children about, and then there is the age factor – people go on farming beyond the normal retirement age.

What this all means is that there are risks in farming that are unlike those in other industries. It’s about managing that risk.

Is improving farm safety a costly mission?

It doesn’t have to be. A lot of it is about taking the time to think a minute before you do something.

There are things people can do, changing attitudes and behaviour, that don’t cost a penny, like putting the brake on a vehicle every time you get out of one.

Just how important is it to ram home the safety message?

The benefits of good safety are good for businesses financially and then there is the human cost, which can’t have a value.

My role is to talk to our members about my policy areas and try to raise awareness.

Are the safety messages aimed at a particular farming demographic?

It is important to target young people because it we can get people at the start of their careers, we can get good practice in their minds that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their careers.

But we still need to talk to those older people in farming. Almost half of deaths in agriculture are people aged over 60.