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Take A Moment

Health, Safety and Wellbeing in Agriculture

Mole Valley FarmersMole Valley Farmers
Mole Country StoresMole Country Stores
Farm Safety PartnershipFarm Safety Partnership
Farm Safety WeekFarm Safety Week


From the 17th-21st July the Farm Safety Foundation – or Yellow Wellies as they are known – will hold their tenth annual Farm Safety Week, a campaign which brings together five countries over five days with one simple goal - to encourage everyone in the industry to make our farms safer places to live and work. A decade after the first Farm Safety Week, agriculture still has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.

Mole Valley Farmers is proud to support the annual Farm Safety Week campaign. A campaign that spans five countries can really draw attention to and reduce the injury risk that farmers and farm workers face on a daily basis. When many voices join together to drive a change this is when it can happen. Farm Safety Week is important for this focus but the truth is that we should all try our best to farm safely every day of the year and not just during Farm Safety Week.

Farm Safety FoundationFarm Safety Foundation

For more information on ‘Farm Safety Week’ visit or follow @yellowelliesUK on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

The most common types of accidents on farm involve transport, animals, machinery and workingThe most common types of accidents on farm involve transport, animals, machinery and working
14,000 non-fatal injuries to agricultural workers per year14,000 non-fatal injuries to agricultural workers per year
53% of fatal work injuries occured to workers over 6053% of fatal work injuries occured to workers over 60
One person a week is killed as a direct result of agricultural workOne person a week is killed as a direct result of agricultural work
12,000 workers suffer work-related ill health each year12,000 workers suffer work-related ill health each year


In the 12 months from April 2022 to March 2023, 27 people died in farm-related accidents. Farmers and farm workers are 21 times more likely to be killed whilst at work than the average rate across all industries. If everyone makes it their goal to Take A Moment to undertake just one change that makes their farm a safer place to work then the industry can take the next steps to becoming safer.

How do you shape up when it comes to farm safety?

How would you answer these four questions?

1. Do you always take the keys out when leaving a farm vehicle?

The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture involves moving and overturning vehicles. Many accidents happen when people leave a vehicle without making sure it cannot move. Even when the vehicle is stationary, you should make sure it is properly secured and made safe by following the Safe Stop procedure.

3. Do you have high visibility vests available for use in your farmyard?

A key aspect to your own safety is being visible on farm. Part of that is wearing high visibility clothing such as hats, shirts or Hi Vis vests, or anything that can alert a busy farmyard to your presence. In some cases, this vest could save your life.

2. Do you ever allow children to travel in your tractor cab?

It is illegal to allow a child under 13 to ride on or drive agricultural self-propelled machines (such as tractors) and other specified farm machinery. Children are not safe simply because they are in a cab - they can and do fall out of doors and rear windows. They may distract the operator and, if left alone in the cab, can interfere with the tractor controls, putting others as well as themselves at risk.

4. Do you routinely wear a crash helmet when riding an ATV on your farm? 

Quad bike accidents and overturned vehicles accounted for more than 14 fatalities in the past year. Yet only one in three farmers say they frequently or always wear a helmet when riding a quad bike.




However tempting, children should not be taken to work on a farm. For example, it is illegal to carry children under the age of 13 in tractor cabs.

Most years, farming work will lead to the death of at least one child by their parent or a close family member. Most children under five who are killed in farm accidents are with an adult at the time. It is very difficult to supervise children, especially toddlers, when doing work that requires your close attention.


Are there children living on or near your farm? If so, you need to take action:

  • Provide a securely fenced play area with enough activities to keep children busy
  • Keep children away from farming activities and work traffic
  • Make sure everyone working on the farm knows they should stop work immediately if an unsupervised child suddenly appears in the work area. Take the child somewhere safe
  • With older children, explain the dangers and any No Go areas
  • Put up warning signs in dangerous areas and make sure the children know what they mean.


Health and safety regulation does not prevent learning through experience. It can be undertaken in a planned way with direct supervision.

There is nothing wrong with your child watching what you do if:

  • The task itself is not inherently dangerous
  • The person doing the task is not the same person supervising the child, and the child is kept in a safe place.

Remember - although parents are responsible for preventing their children straying or trespassing into areas where they may be at risk, all adults working in agriculture employers, employees, contractors, or other visitor, must take responsibility for child safety.



Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace death and life-changing injury. During 2022/2023 four people were killed from falling from height and during the last 5 years an average of 4 people have died from falls each year.

The law covers all work activities where people could fall and injure themselves. The responsibility for ensuring safety sits with the employers, the self-employed and others who have control over work at height.

There is a safety hierarchy that you should follow when carrying out work at height:

  • Avoid work at height where you can
  • Use work equipment or measures to prevent falls
  • Use work equipment that minimises the distance and consequences of a fall


Working at height on roofs is particularly dangerous; just recently a self-employed farmer died after falling through a fragile roof. Most types of fibre cement roofs will be fragile and roof lights can also be fragile. No one must ever work on or from, or walk over fragile roofs unless platforms, covers or similar are provided which will adequately support their weight. Always consider first whether it is necessary to access the roof; does the work need to be done, or could it be done in some other way, such as from below or from an integrated work platform.


  • Plan the work
  • Set aside enough time to do the work
  • Take account of weather conditions such as light levels, ice, wind and rain
  • Make sure everyone knows the precautions to be followed when working at height
  • Fix a prominent permanent warning notice at the approach to any fragile roof
  • Never walk on fragile materials such as asbestos or other fibre cement sheets, roof lights or glass. Roof lights and glass may have been painted over
  • Never ‘walk the purlins’ or ‘walk the line of bolts’
  • Roof ladders or crawling boards must span at least three purlins. They should be at least 600mm wide and more when the work requires it
  • Take precautions to prevent a person falling from the ladder or board. Use edge protection or safety harnesses, or safety netting where this is not feasible.
  • Roof ladders must be securely placed, with the anchorage bearing on the opposite side of the roof. Never use gutters to support any ladder.

Click the tabs to view previous Take A Moment topics:



Every year incidents involving livestock account for a large proportion of the injuries sustained by people working on farms or to members of the public. The effects can be severe; many injuries caused by cattle result in a farmer being unable to work for months. A total of 32 people lost their lives over the past five years as a result of being injured by cattle and bulls.

Working with livestock, particularly cattle, will always involve risk. Sensible health and safety is about managing that risk. The most recent HSE annual workplace fatality statistics reported that being killed by an animal is the second highest cause of death in farming. Handling cattle and livestock always involves risks: the risk of being hurt physically by an animal that is frightened or has been startled and the risk of being hurt due to poorly thought out handling facilities, the misuse of equipment or failing to maintain.


Handling cattle always involves a risk of injury. To reduce this risk it is vital to ensure you have proper handling facilities which you keep in good working order. This includes a race and a crush suitable for the animals you handle.

The Crush

A crush should allow you to do the most straightforward tasks in safety (including oral treatments, ear tagging and work from the rear end). Crush Checklist:

  • It should have a locking front gate and yoke (ideally self-locking) allowing you to hold the animals head firmly.
  • There should be a rump rail, chain or bar to minimise forward and backward movement of the animal
  • It must be secured to the ground or, if mobile, to a vehicle
  • The gates must open smoothly with the minimum of effort and noise
  • It should be positioned to allow you to work safely around it, with the risk of contact with other animals
  • It should have a slip-resistant floor, made of sound hardwood bolted into place (nails are not suitable, metal chequerplate or with a rubber mat over the base
  • For specialised tasks, such as belly or foot trimming you will need a purpose-designed crush

Other Handling Tips:

  • Consider the need for shedding gates after the crush to allow animals to be sorted into groups
  • Work around the crush will be more convenient if it is under cover with a workbench nearby (for example, documentation, veterinary medicines or instruments)
  • Do not use makeshift gates or hurdles – this will make handling more difficult and increase the risk of injury


  • Stock tasks should always be carried out on restrained animals using good handling facilities
  • Ensure workers are in good health, fit and have the physical ability to work with livestock
  • Doors in the race should be operated from the working side so you do not have to reach across to close the gate
  • Do not work in the crush if there is an unsecured animal waiting in the race behind
  • Ensure the crush is fitted with a self-locking front gate, a yoke, rump rail and a bar; it should be able to constrain an animal whatever their size
  • Never enter an enclosure when a bull is loose, or a cow is with a calf unless the animals are restrained or segregated


Remember, many of the steps to stay safe only require you to Take A Moment to think about. Other safety measures, such as a well-designed and built handling system may seem expensive but will last many years. Handling livestock with good facilities will also save a lot of time and if you consider the business consequences of an injury, costs less than an accident. Never underestimate the risk from cattle, even with good precautions in place. It could save your life. Many farmers never stop to consider why animals behave as they do and, more importantly, what this behaviour could mean to their personal safety. Although most animal incidents are not fatal, many men, women and children are needlessly injured every year due to unwise risk taking. Broken bones, crushed or mashed limbs, work absences and unnecessary medical expenses are some of the results of livestock-related incidents so it is important to Take a Moment to think about improving livestock handling systems and making them safer and more efficient.



Each year incidents occur involving livestock and members of the public. Some of these result in death or serious injuries. Almost all the incidents investigated by the HSE are in fields and enclosed areas. The two most common factors involved in these incidents are cows with calves and walkers with dogs.

When you are considering where to keep livestock you should consider that members of the public are unlikely to be aware of the behavioural characteristics of cattle. You should also consider the amount and type of public access in different areas of the land you manage (e.g. large groups of walkers with dogs every day, groups of children, or infrequent lone walkers). This will help you decide whether the cattle should be kept in certain areas and what precautions you need to take.

Precautions if you graze bulls or groups of entire male cattle for bull beef

  • Bulls of recognised dairy breeds (e.g. Ayrshire, Friesian, Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry) are in all circumstances banned from being at large in fields crossed by public rights of way.
  • Beef bulls are banned from fields or enclosures with footpaths unless accompanied by cows or heifers.


  • Do not keep bulls of recognised dairy breeds in fields containing public rights of way.
  • Wherever possible, select fields without rights of way when cattle are calving or have calves at foot and where this is not possible to separate the animals from the path, fit signs at field entrances advising the public of the risks.
  • Check cattle for causes of aggression, such as illness, at least once a day and segregate any animals that display aggressive behaviour.
  • Check that fences, gates, stiles etc. are safe and fit for their purpose
  • Plan how to safely move individual cattle, the whole herd, or part of it, from field to field. Remember that inadequately controlled cattle on roads can cause public concern, damage or injury.


Remember, many of the steps to stay safe only require you to Take A Moment to think about. Many of the safety measures detailed above are inexpensive but could save a life. Never underestimate the risks from cattle to the public, even with good precautions in place.

As an industry leader and farmer-owned company, Mole Valley Farmers are uniquely positioned to make a real difference and influence cultural change within the sector by helping improve safe working practices on farms. Mole Valley Farmers is asking farmers to ‘Take A Moment’ to consider their safety and that of others on their farms. At the heart of the initiative are the following themes -

Take A Moment to

• Consider the task you are about to undertake

• Consider your environment

• Consider the machinery you are about to use

• Think ‘what if…’

• Plan a safe return home at the end of every day

As an industry leader and farmer-owned company Mole Valley Farmers are in a unique position to make a real difference and influene cultural change within the sector by helping to improve safe working practice on farms. Mole Valley Farmers is asking farmers to ‘Take A Moment’ to consider their safety and that of others on their farms. At the heart of the initiative are the following themes -

Take A Moment to

  • Consider the task you are about to undertake

  • Consider your environment.

  • Consider the machinery you are about to use

  • Think ‘what if…’

  • Plan a safe return home at the end of every day

Health and safety is a fundamental requirement of a sustainable farming business and should be regarded as an essential part of farm business management. As farmers, you use management systems to make sure that your crops and animals are kept healthy and productive. You plan what to plant and when, and assess the risks of disease and other incidents that may spoil the crop or animal. You control any problems, monitor growth and decide when to harvest. You also work out how successful you have been and come up with improvements. Managing health and safety is no different, you need to manage it to make sure that you, your workers, family members and others are kept safe at work.


  • Figures recently published by the Health and Safety Executive show 27 people were killed as a result of farming and other agricultural activities during 2022/2023
  • Agriculture has the worst fatal injury rate (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors; it is 21 times higher than the average rate across all industries
  • Transport: overturning vehicles or being struck by a vehicle caused most deaths
  • 80% of all farm worker deaths over the last five years have been to those aged 45 or over
  • 25 members of the public were killed in the last five years, a quarter of whom were children

According to a new survey of wellbeing in agriculture, more than a third of people in UK farming could be suffering from depression.

The Big Farming Survey by the University of Exeter and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) spoke to 15,000 people in UK farming and is one of the largest of its kind. The causes of stress highlighted in the report include financial pressure, physical pain, the Covid-19 pandemic, regulations and bad weather. Women farmers reported particularly high levels of anxiety.

  • Four out of five young farmers (under 40) believe mental health is the biggest problem faced by farmers today
  • 36% of the farming community are probably or possibly depressed
  • More than half of women (58%) experience mild, moderate or severe anxiety
  • Over half (52%) of the farming community experience pain and discomfort, one in four have mobility problems and 21% have problems in undertaking usual tasks due to health issues

Sources - Farm Safety Foundations and Big Farming Survey (University of Exeter and RABI)


Recent research by the Farm Safety Foundation in 2019 revealed that: 

  • 84% of farmers under the age of 40 believe that mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today
  • 85% believe that there is a link between farm safety and mental health
  • 86% believe that talking about mental health in farming will remove any stigma attached to it.
  • Farming can be a highly stressful occupation and the industry is exposed to a unique set of circumstances and stressors

  • Although not an accurate indicator of poor mental health in the industry, it is important to know that, in 2019, there were a total of 102* suicides registered in England and Wales in those working in farming and agricultural related trades (*Office of National Statistics)

  • Farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and stress is often a key factor in many of the accidents, injuries and illnesses taking place on farms

If you need to talk to someone contact the Farming Community Network helpline on 03000 111 999

Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents those who need help from seeking it, but there has never been a time when this has been more relevant. Farmers are often culturally ill-equipped to talk about mental health problems and the challenge now is to build a culture within agriculture that recognises how the job can impact on the wellbeing of farmers and their families and how poor mental health can have a direct and deadly impact on the job.

Mole valley Farmers is working with many partners to promote farm safety and to provide access to mental health support. This includes access to free confidential health checks and NHS support around all aspects of emotional wellbeing at the recently opened Frome Market Health Hub.

There are a number of mental health risk factors associated with agriculture. Farmers work long hours, often in isolation. They can be under significant financial pressure, often required to take on significant debt to purchase the land and equipment required to operate. And in most cases, a farmer's place of business is also his or her home, meaning there is no easy way to get away from work.

Poor mental health is emerging as one of the biggest, yet unspoken, challenges within farming. As the conversation around mental health and wellbeing becomes increasingly more prominent in the UK, an estimated one if four people will experience at least one diagnosiable mental health condition during their lifetime. Levels of depression in the farming industry are increasing and figures recently published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 133 people working in farming and agriculture took their own lives between 2019 and 2020.

There are a number of rural support charities throughout the UK and five of them form the group of 'Farming Help' charities. One of there is the Addington Fund which Mole Valley Farmers is proud to sponsor and partner with. The fund provides housing, feed and forage for those in need. The other charities, FCN, Forage Aid, RABI and RSABI also provide vital support to those within the sector who are struggling.



Day One Trauma SupportDay One Trauma Support

Day One Trauma Support

In the briefest of moments, a catastrophic injury can shatter someone’s life. Surviving these catastrophic injuries is just the start. When lives are shattered by a life-changing injury Day One Trauma Support is there to help piece them back together. They provide the practical, emotional, and financial support people need through bedside support in hospitals and through our national support line. They are the only national charity to provide personalised care to anyone affected by a catastrophic injury of any kind, their loved ones and their families – for as long as it takes.

One of the individuals they have supported is Grace Addyman. Grace and her family are customers at our Ripley Mole Countrystore Grace recently suffered a horrific farming injury but has made an incredible recovery with the help of Day One Trauma Support and is now back riding and snowboarding. Read more about Grace’s story here and find out more about the charity at their website -

The charity is currently running an appeal from June to September encouraging people to raise money by completing 100k, by running, riding, biking, skating, walking, jogging or any way they choose. Laura Harris, our Store Supervisor at Ripley, has been biking, horse riding, running, rollerskating, hiking and swimming her way to 100k to support the charity during June – well done Laura!

For more information on agricultural health and safety please visit the HSE website where you will find a range of resources and information.

Here are some helpful links to key resources:

mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems facing farmers todaymental health is one of the biggest hidden problems facing farmers today
Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20

Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2022/2023

Figures published in the Health and Safety Executive report ‘Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in Great Britain 2022/23 show 27 people were killed as a result of farming and other agriculture-related activities during the year.

fatal injured are on average 21 times higherfatal injured are on average 21 times higher
12000 people suffer from agricultural health issues every year12000 people suffer from agricultural health issues every year

Farm Vehicle Safety

The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture involve moving and overturning vehicles. Transport movements in and around the workplace need to be controlled to protect pedestrians and to prevent damage to equipment and buildings. Other incidents happen when people leave a vehicle without making sure it cannot move or cause injury in other ways.

‘Safe Stop’ is the most important safety action of all:

  • Handbrake on
  • Controls in neutral
  • Engine off and remove the key

It is sometimes easier to break transport activities into three areas: vehicle, driver and site.

Safe Vehicle

Check that vehicles, machines and handling equipment are capable of safely performing the jobs to be done and are properly maintained. Vehicles should be fitted with roll-over protective structures and seatbelts if there is a risk of overturning. Keys should be kept secure when not in use.

Safe Driver

Drivers should be medically fit to drive, properly trained and authorised to drive. Never allow passengers to ride on or in vehicle cabs unless they are sitting on a passenger seat and cannot impede the driver, accidentally make contact with the machine controls or obscure the driver’s vision.

Safe Site

Vehicles and pedestrians should be separated where possible and visiting drivers should be aware of your site rules. Traffic routes should be properly maintained and adequately lit. The need to reverse should be reduced where possible.

All-terrain Vehicles

Many quad bike fatalities in the UK have been caused by head injuries. Helmets would have prevented most, if not all, of these deaths. You should always wear a helmet when riding a quad bike. Never carry a child as a passenger, it is illegal and will reduce your ability to control the ATV.
References: HSG270 Farmwise

safe stopsafe stop


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