Changing nature of agriculture brings more risks, warns Aviva

Article date: 10 June 2009

As the agricultural industry diversifies and the risks multiply, employers must be aware of the dangers to employees and visitors, warns Aviva, the new name for Norwich Union.

As part of its 2009 Simply Safety campaign, Aviva’s UK Insurance business is advising workers in the agricultural industry to adopt safe working practices.  The sector has one of the worst records for fatal accidents. On average, 46 people working in the agricultural sector are killed each year - almost one death per week 1 - with many more injured.

Phil Grace, liability risk manager, Aviva’s UK Insurance says: “Within the agricultural sector there are a number of high risk activities including the use of farm machinery and work at height.

“With 50% 2 of full and part time farmers having diversified business as they look to increase their income source and respond to new and evolving consumer demands they are faced with new risks. The sector continues to develop and is moving from traditional bed and breakfasts and retail, to sports and recreation, resulting in increases in the nature of the risks, in addition to the number and type of people exposed to them.”

The main cause of death is transport – workers being knocked over or vehicles overturning – accounting for 24% of fatalities. This is followed by falling from height (17%). 1

With the agricultural sector facing many pressures, including financial and inclement weather, Aviva UK Insurance, is reminding farmers not to cut corners or to take greater risks when it comes to health and safety.

Grace also urges employers to remember they have a responsibility to those who may be affected by work activity, such as visitors and members of the general public.

Grace says; “Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to protect anyone who comes into contact with work activity, ensuring adequate provision is made for health and safety ‘so far as is reasonably practical.’ This is achieved by implementing a risk assessment process.

“Taking the following steps will help to protect your livelihood, your workers and any other individuals who may be affected by work activity. First, identify any hazards, for example what machinery is being used or whether children are present and could be injured. Of the 464 people killed over the past 10 years, 26 of these were children under the age of sixteen. 1

“Then assess the risks and introduce the appropriate controls. Make sure employees have the correct instruction and training to use equipment or carry out their job and identify and provide any protective equipment that is required.

“This could range from wearing the correct protective equipment when using sheep dips to making sure the floor in a farm shop is clean and safe.”

Grace continues: “You should also consider past accidents. The HSE website 1 contains many case studies and real life examples to illustrate potential risks. Thinking about who could be affected, how someone could be injured and what injuries they might sustain, will help you to assess risk.

“In addition to assessing health and safety risks, making sure you have the correct insurance will help to protect your business. Employer’s liability insurance is compulsory but look at whether you need public liability insurance which can provide compensation in the event of property damage or injury to a customer.

“A typical commercial package will provide these, but it is vital that your broker and insurer have a clear idea of what you do and that you update them with any changes - for example if you decide to offer a service such as bed and breakfast, shooting or recreational quad biking, as it this may affect your premium.”

“A typical commercial package will provide these, but it is vital that your broker and insurer have a clear idea of what you do and that you update them with any changes - for example if you decide to offer a service such as bed and breakfast, shooting or recreational quad biking, as it this may affect your premium.”

“In addition to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), you should also bear in mind other enforcement organisations and policy bodies such as the Department of Environment Food Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and local authorities who have their own regulations,” concludes Grace.

A pdf guide to this subject is available to download from www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions

 -ends -

For further information, please contact:
Alex Anderson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8021 /07779 162583 or Sally Leeman at Aviva’s UK Insurance press office on 01603 684225/ 07789 270677.  

Notes to editors:

1 http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/hsagriculture.htm

² Source - The Farm Business Survey 2007.

This press release should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. We also provide roadside assistance through RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

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