Topic outline

  • Health and Safety in Farming

    Health and safety in farming

    With data showing that almost one person has been killed each week as a direct result of agricultural work over the last ten years, farmers and farm workers are 20 times more likely to be killed at work than the national average for all industries (HSE, 2022). To further add to these already shocking figures, 60% of farmers suffer from work related pain, and 16% have experienced injuries at work (RABI, 2021).

    Therefore, health and safety represents a critical aspect for farmers, farm workers and visitors to farms to consider. In the UK, farmers are subject to legal responsibilities for health and safety under several regulations: Health and Safety at work act of 1974, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999, and Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations of 1998. These regulations require farmers to ensure the health and safety of any employees, contractors, visitors and members of the public who may be impacted by their activities.

    By implementing safety measures on farms, it is possible to prevent unnecessary accidents and protect businesses, farms and workers. Such measures can also help to increase overall productivity by reducing injuries and ill health in the workforce.

    The HSE provides guidance on key areas, including accident prevention, livestock handling, working with or around machinery and slurry handling, offering a range of resources for those totally new to farm health and safety through to those looking for to refresh and update their knowledge and assess risks.

    To accompany this toolbox module, please also refer to our ‘Episode 7: Taking the Pain out of Health and Safety’ podcast with Stephanie Berkeley, from Yellow Wellies, who explains how to approach health and safety in a way that makes it easy. This is available on the FFRF website (Course: Episode 7: Taking the Pain out of Health and Safety (, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.


    Training, instruction and supervision are essential for everyone working on a farm, and farmers must ensure that all workers are able to work safely. Many of the risks to health and safety on a farm can be mitigated by ensuring that all impacted personnel receive relevant training, not only in the correct practices and operation of farm equipment, but also in the identification of risks.

    As part of this, risk assessments identifying and managing potential hazards on the farm should be conducted and appropriate local health and safety policies and procedures should be developed and implemented. It is essential that all personnel are aware of the results of relevant risk assessments and understand the control measures in place. Health and safety training can be provided through various methods such as workshops, written guides, on-the-job and online guides and courses.

    Risk assessment

    Risks associated with on-farm activities must be identified and assessed with appropriate control measures implemented to minimise the likelihood of accidents and injuries. A range of considerations may be factored into a farm risk assessment, including, but not limited to, the aspects listed in the table below. There are also various links and resources to risk assessment resources in the ‘Useful Resources’ table at the bottom of this module.

    Risk area

    Control measures

     Safety equipment

    Farmers and workers should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, boots and helmets to protect them from hazards.

    Machinery, equipment and vehicles

    Farm machinery, equipment and vehicles should be well-maintained and regularly inspected to ensure they are safe to use. Users should be trained in how to use machines and equipment safely.

    Working at height

    Safe working practices for when working at height e.g. using ladders and scaffolds correctly and wearing appropriate fall protection equipment

    Manual handling

    Preventing injury by using safe lifting techniques and avoiding carrying heavy loads.

    Slips, trips and falls

    Keeping work areas clean and tidy to prevent accidents.

    Livestock handling

    Following safe handling practices when working with livestock to prevent injuries.

    Electrical safety

    Following safe electrical practices, such as using appropriate equipment and avoiding wet conditions.

    Chemical safety

    Following safe handling practices when using chemicals (as outlined within COSHH assessments), such as wearing appropriate PPE and following label instructions.

    Emergency preparedness

    Having an emergency plan in place enables effective response should accidents and injuries occur.

    Lone working

    Implement a lone worker plan to ensure that potential risks associated with lone working are identified to minimise the likelihood of accidents and injuries and ensure lone workers are able to communicate with someone in the case of an emergency.

    Working with slurry

    Implement safety measures to ensure the safe storage and management of slurry such as restricted access, ventilation and PPE.

    Public safety

    Farmers should ensure that public access to their farm such as public footpaths are safe and well-managed with clear signage and appropriate barriers to prevent accidents.


    Useful resources

    Here we present some key online resources to assist with implementing and improving suitable health and safety processes on a farm and with signposting to resources where further information may be found. Some of the online resources include:




    The Farming Community Network (FCN) / FarmWell



    The FCN is a charity offering guidance on various topics, including health and safety in farming. FarmWell is a valuable resource for signposting to information and support on health and safety in UK farming for farmers, farm workers, and farm visitors who are looking.


    Farm Safety Foundation / Yellow Wellies




    The Farm Safety Foundation is a charity that promotes safe working practices in the farming industry. They provide resources and training on a range of topics including health and safety.

    Yellow Wellies farming resources include: health and safety planning documents; resources for devising an on-farm health and safety policy or farm emergency plan; farm safety checklist; guides for young farmers, parents, temporary workers, and mental health; guides for different modes of working (e.g. livestock, machinery, at height, slurry, powerlines, ATVs, and child safety).

    Please also refer to our ‘Episode 7: Taking the Pain out of Health and Safety’ podcast with Stephanie Berkeley, from Yellow Wellies, who explain how to approach health and safety in a way that makes it easy. This is available on the FFRF website (Course: Episode 7: Taking the Pain out of Health and Safety (, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.



    Farmers weekly



    Advice on how to make working on your farm safer. Articles giving real-life case studies and experiences from farmers involved in accidents.



    Health and Safety Executive (HSE)





    HSE is the UK’s national regulatory for workplace health and safety. They provide guidance and resources on a range of topics, including farming.

    Farming-specific advice includes case studies and leaflets to help protect the health and safety of those on and around the farm. Available guides cover: COSHH, using machines safely, research reports and statistics, videos and other useful links.



    NFU Mutual

    The NFU is a membership organization that represents farmers and growers in England and Wales. They provide members with online resources and guidance on health and safety in farming.

    Additionally, they also provide paid for safety consultancy services.


    Membership service


    Lantra is an awarding body for land-based industries. They provide resources and guidance on a range of generic health and safety related topics such as risk assessment, manual handling, as well as farming-specific topics such as livestock, tractors and attachments, chainsaws, and pest management.


    Paid for training courses

    The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH)

    Online courses covering foundations in farm safety and farming with safety in mind. Additional modules also available covering more specific topics such as working with livestock, working at height and risk assessment.


    Currently free to trial members – future versions to be a paid for service.

    The information provided above is for reference purposes only. We do not take responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of the information contained in the linked resources.