Farmers and the rural community are at the heart of everything we do at NFU Mutual and, over the past century, we have witnessed first-hand the devastation caused to farming families by farm accidents. In 2014, NFU Mutual set up the Farm Safety Foundation, a registered charity, to reduce the number of farming accidents. We spoke to Gina Fusco, a Trustee and Chair of the Farm Safety Foundation to talk about why NFU Mutual set up, and continues to support, the work of the Foundation.

“In 2013, NFU Mutual conducted a review of risk management within farming and it was clear from the findings that availability of health and safety advice was key to reducing the risk of accidents on farms. What was also clear was the need for a complete cultural shift within the UK farming industry.

Our response to these findings was to set-up the Farm Safety Foundation with an ambitious goal to have zero avoidable deaths on UK farms – it’s a goal that shapes everything we do and I was delighted to be asked to become a Trustee and Chair of the Farm Safety Foundation. Over the past three years the Foundation has educated young people within the farming industry and championed farm safety through ongoing campaigning. The Foundation is also the driving force behind Farm Safety Week – an annual week-long campaign to raise awareness of risk by sharing the main causes of farm accidents and giving tips and advice to help farmers work safely.

I am proud of the attitudinal changes the Foundation has brought about amongst the students and young people we have educated and these young people will take this knowledge out into the farming community and act as ambassadors for farm safety.

We proudly established and continue to support the multi award-winning Farm Safety Foundation and their Yellow Wellies campaign because…

1. Everyone deserves to be safe at work

Farming accounts for 1.5% of the working population, however, farm workers account for 20% of all workplace fatalities and that needs to change. The Foundation delivers unique training courses that are designed to educate young farmers and create better safety habits among the next generation of farmers and employees. Having supported the farming community for over a century, we are committed to shaping a safer future for farmers and their families and our support of the Farm Safety Foundation allows us to do just that.

2. Farm safety needs to be a priority

Farm safety isn’t a slogan, it’s a lifestyle. In just a few seconds a farm accident can change the lives of a farming family forever and the Farm Safety Foundation is helping to change attitudes to farm safety through a programme of tailored training courses. Last year, the Foundation delivered courses at 19 colleges across the UK and a total of 30 land based colleges and universities will receive this training in 2017 alone. That’s 2,602 agricultural students who have listened, learned and had their perceptions of farm safety challenged.

3. By working together, we can make a huge difference

NFU Mutual has been supporting farming families for over a century and only by working together with the Farm Safety Foundation and the wider farming community can we help to change attitudes, reduce accidents and save lives.

4. Families shouldn’t have to miss their loves ones

Behind every statistic is a personal story of farming families who have lost a loved one because of an accident at work. In 2016/2017, 27 farm workers lost their lives in the workplace and since the start of this year, a total of 21 farm workers have lost their lives at work. In addition, many more people employed in agriculture have received life changing injuries as a result of a farm accident with countless more admitting to a ‘near miss’.

This has to change. 

Our friends at the Farm Safety Foundation work tirelessly to change attitudes towards farm safety, and the objective is simple: to ensure those who work in farming return safely to their families after a day’s work.

5.The countryside, farmers and their families matter

Farming is important to the UK economy and the conservation of our beautiful countryside. It’s also an industry where many farmers work alone, against time pressures and encounter a variety of risks. The Farm Safety Foundation really does make a difference to the safety and wellbeing of those employed in the agricultural sector and what really makes me proud is some of the feedback received from the training sessions. When 96% of agricultural students who have received the training say they would think twice about taking risks in the future I know that we are really making a difference. That’s why we set-up the Farm Safety Foundation and one of the reasons we’ll continue to support this important charity.”

Farming is part of the fabric of rural life in the UK and there are lots of ways you can help support the work of the Farm Safety Foundation and make a difference not just during Farm Safety Week but the whole year round:

Visit www.yellowwellies.org

Follow @YellowwelliesUK on Twitter and Facebook

Follow @NFUM on Twitter and Facebook