FARMERS in Cumbria are being warned they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace risks or face serious penalties.

A programme of inspections run by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will start soon, reviewing health and safety standards on farms across the country.

Inspectors calling on farms will ensure those responsible for protecting themselves and their workers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.

If they are not, the HSE says it will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.

Throughout the initiative, inspectors will be checking risks are being controlled in specific areas including machinery, falls from height, children and livestock.

The announcement that inspections will start soon follows a series of compliance events developed as a result of research into farmers’ attitudes to risk and aimed at changing behaviours in the industry.

Farmers in the area were given the opportunity to attend one of these events, paid for by the HSE, to help them comply with the law and prepare for inspections.

The HSE is now following up to make sure that all farms in the area are doing the right thing.

Agriculture has the poorest record of any industry in Britain and the latest figures show that 39 people were killed in agriculture across Britain in 2018/19.

Andrew Turner, the HSE’s acting head of agriculture, said: “We are seeing signs of a change in attitude across the farming industry and, while this is encouraging, these inspections act as a reminder to farmers of the importance of managing risks so that everyone can go home healthy and safe from work.

“Everyone involved in farming has a role to play.

“Those working in the industry need to understand the risks they face and the simple ways they can be managed.

“Those who work with the industry can be part of the change that is so badly needed.

“Farmers, managers and workers are reminded that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming.”

The HSE has a range of resources and guides available to help employers and employees improve health and safety on farms.

More information on what topics the inspectors will be looking at when they visit farms can be found in the HSE’s ‘What a good farm looks like’ guide.

This, says the HSE, will help prevent accidents and ill-health on farms.