Home > Agriculture > Hazards in Agricultural Work

Hazards in Agricultural Work

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 19 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Agricultural Work Hazardous Safety

As with many other industries, agricultural work is potentially hazardous. But it is possible to do such work without running into too many difficulties. Agricultural employers and staff must simply be aware of the safety aspects of their environment. They must also act promptly if they come across any problems.

Confined Spaces

There are often a number of confined spaces on a farm. Among them are grain silos, forage bins, slurry pits, and vegetable or fruit stores. Entering these spaces and remaining there for any length of time may be dangerous. Unfortunately there are instances of people asphyxiating, drowning or being caught in a sudden fire.

It’s possible to reduce such risks with suitable ventilation, safety barriers and warning signs. Anyone likely to enter a confined space should also have appropriate training about the dangers and how to avoid them.

Dust

A significant cause of long-term health damage in agricultural work is dust. This may come from poultry or grain, and is at its most Hazardous to Health in a confined space. Once again, good ventilation can help lessen any problems. Suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks and coveralls is also helpful.

Fertiliser

It’s wise to store fertiliser separately from other products. Ammonium nitrate fertiliser is particularly hazardous. It releases toxic fumes and has the potential to explode in certain conditions.

Where there are 25 tonnes or more of ammonium nitrate, the owner must inform the local fire brigade and erect warning signs. If there are 150 tonnes or more, the owner must also tell the Health and Safety Executive within four weeks.

Livestock

Livestock, even relatively placid animals, are a hazard under some circumstances. They need proper restraints, for example, when a vet is treating them. Most ways of Handling Livestock may be self-evident, but accidents occur regularly. Anyone involved with animals must therefore be vigilant and err on the side of safety.

Machinery

Agricultural work needs machinery. The hazards from this are noise, pollution, vibration, breakdowns and accidents. Ear plugs and masks can help prevent noise and pollution from affecting health. With vibration, it’s important to reduce this to a minimum and monitor the health of anyone exposed to it for long periods. As for breakdowns and accidents, training should explain good practice to agricultural workers and alert them to the hazards.

Public Access

Some farms have developed their businesses and allow limited access to the public. They may also have farm shops on site.

The hazards are the nature of the access, and the movement of cars in and around farm buildings. There should be strict controls on public access to prevent unauthorised people wandering into hazardous areas, and cars must remain within contained parking areas.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls are perhaps more likely to occur during agricultural work than any other occupation. Mud, ice and obstructions are constant hazards. One of the best ways of reducing the number of slips, trips and falls is to ensure everyone keeps working areas tidy and clean. This also means spreading salt in the winter along paths and walkways, treating oily spillages the moment they occur, and ensuring good drainage in areas where there’s a lot of water.

Prevention

The scope of hazards in agricultural work can seem overwhelming. A risk assessment, however, can put them in perspective. It can also highlight any problems that need urgent attention. Such a preventive approach makes an agricultural enterprise as safe as possible.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Cat
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    Hi I've been off work since sept 2019 and have been putting sick notes in but I feel I dont wont to go back as my job is stressful. If i…
    3 June 2020
  • Jess Sharp
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    Hi how old do you have to be to take the test
    2 June 2020
  • HMRC Survivor
    Re: Bullying at Work
    Seeing HMRC's CEO Jim Harra on television recently, delighting in the publicity of doling out 'free' furlough money, I wonder whether he will be…
    2 June 2020
  • Sam
    Re: Being Pregnant at Work
    Hi I just found out am 6 weeks pregnant. I work in a carer home ,when should I tell my boss am pregnant. I want to tell my boss now or…
    2 June 2020
  • Chris
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    Hi, I've had three days off work sick but no sick note, and now I'm being told I have to work over time to make the hours up is this right,…
    2 June 2020
  • Mhon
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    Im working as a delivery driver...my boss will text me early in the morning everyday about what my schedule…
    30 May 2020
  • Avy
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    I was off work for four week I phoned the work to tell them I would start back on Monday but I don't feel that I am ready to go back yet…
    30 May 2020
  • Chesney
    Re: Can my Employer Fire Me?
    Hello I have been a victim of slander at my workplace due to a fellow worker accusing me of slashing his tyres because we were winding…
    30 May 2020
  • Lia
    Re: Standing for Long Periods
    I work 8 hrs standing and a pregnant, my feet’s are extremely swollen. I work in ware house and I don’t want to lose my job because it…
    29 May 2020
  • Sharon
    Re: Cancer: Your Rights as an Employee
    March 2020 I was diagnosed with breast cancer albeit working from home until I was furloughed end of March. Now my…
    29 May 2020