Good organisation is key to any farming business and good health and safety goes hand in hand with farm efficiency. Small changes are often not expensive and can make a big difference.
I have found it very useful to make a note of potential issues on my phone. When I have gathered together a significant number of issues, I can justify organising a contractor to fix them and make the best use of his/her time. We use a roofing contractor and cherry picker to manage all our roof repairs, their experience and efficiency doing the job day in day out makes up for the increased cost.
For the other jobs I can do myself, if I have everything noted down, I can buy whatever I need and put it aside ready to make the most of a wet day.
Too often I see trailers without lights on the road particularly at harvest time. Last year I had an accident with a small lorry driving into the back of my silage trailer – had I not had the correct lighting fitted during the winter I would have faced serious consequences.
Each farm building has its own First Aid box, if you are having to go home to find a plaster it wastes time, which we are all short of. It also means, should there be a more serious incident, you have all the essential kit close to hand. My wife has done a first aid course so we have a resident first aider on site should there be any emergencies.
I am installing a calving gate this year – previously we have calved behind a gate – with obvious risks to both the cow and the handler. Injuries are expensive and are problematic for workload, particularly at a critical time of year.
Often I hear the excuse that it is too expensive to comply with all the health and safety regulations; farming is a dangerous business and health and safety measures are there to protect us. If you haven’t got the correct measures in place it will cost a lot more in the long run when something does go wrong. If you can’t afford a contractor, speak to your neighbours and see if you can split the cost. Equally, neighbours may well have different skills or equipment and you can help one another out, resulting in cost savings for everyone, which will make your farm a more profitable and safer place to work.
By Jack Bell, Arncliffe Hall, Osmotherley
Follow Jack on Instagram @jhughbell