FARMERS in the North West face “serious penalties” if they do not pay close attention to how they manage risk in the workplace.

The warning was issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ahead of its soon-to-begin inspections programme, where health and safety standards at farms will be reviewed.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 39 people were killed in agriculture, four times the cross-industry average.

In the North West, a 53-year-old man was killed when he was crushed against a fence by a cow as a vet was administering treatment.

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “The inspections will ensure those responsible for protecting themselves and workers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.

“If they are not HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.”

Inspectors will be conducting checks to see that risks are being controlled in various areas, including machinery and livestock.

Andrew Turner, acting head of agriculture with the HSE, 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 that 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.”

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