Warwickshire Rural Hub
Health and Safety
Visit the Observatree website to learn about tree pests and diseases
The Observatree project aims to protect UK trees, woods and forests from existing or new pests and diseases and acts as an early warning system to increase the chance that outbreaks can be eliminated or controlled. A network of 200 volunteers from across the UK have been trained by government tree health experts to survey for 22 priority pests and diseases. These citizen scientists conduct surveys to monitor the spread of existing threats but also monitor for any new pest or disease introductions. The results of the surveys and information on the main tree pests and diseases can be viewed here.
UK-wide bird housing measures to be introduced on 29 November
The Chief Veterinary Officer for England has agreed to bring in new housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza following a number of confirmed cases across Great Britain in recent weeks. The new housing measures, which will come into force on Monday 29 November, mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease. Government Chief Veterinary Officers are encouraging bird keepers to use the next five days to prepare for the new housing measures, including taking steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their vet and put up additional housing where necessary. Read more here.
Bird flu confirmed at poultry unit in Alcester, Warwickshire
Avian influenza of the H5N1 subtype, pathogenicity to be confirmed, has been reported at a small poultry unit near Alcester, Defra said on Sunday (7 November). A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zones have been put in place surrounding the affected premises. Within these zones, a range of different controls are now in place, including restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is currently in force across the whole of Britain.
Plan your journey ahead with a new FCN publication
A new Farming Community Network publication, The Journey Ahead, has just been published. It has been developed with input from more than 40 different organisations and experts across agriculture. Through questions and answers, articles, guidance and case studies, the publication contains a wide range of information sourced from industry experts around areas such as financial security, succession planning, diversification, retirement, mitigating TB, farm safety, wellbeing and more. The publication follows the FCN Time to Plan campaign which ran between October 2020 – March 2021.
You can download a digital copy of The Journey Ahead on this page.
Avian Influenza Prevention Zone is introduced across the whole of the UK
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has come into force across Great Britain as of 5pm on 3rd November 2021. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect their birds from Bird ‘flu. Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals. Read more here.
Results from RABI’s Big Farming Survey
In January 2021 the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution launched the biggest ever wellbeing research survey of the farming sector, the Big Farming Survey, Dr Rebecca Wheeler and Professor Matt Lobley from the Centre for Rural Policy Research, the University of Exeter, were commissioned to undertake the research, and the findings (based on the responses of 15,296 farmers across agriculture across England and Wales) were revealed on 14 October 2021 to over 70 influential people from the agricultural sector at the report launch event in Birmingham. RABI have drawn five key themes from the research. These are:
- Low levels of mental health and wellbeing across the farming community.
- Concerning mental health and wellbeing picture amongst women in agriculture.
- Multiple causes of stress amongst the farming community.
- High levels of physical health issues impacting across the farming community.
- Optimism for the future of farming businesses – 59% of respondents believe their farming business is viable over the next five years.
Read more about the findings of the report on this page.
Lone Worker Safety App is co-designed by farmers
Once installed, the Lone Worker Safety app monitors the user’s movement in terms of motion rather than geographical location and if the users remains motionless for too long a prompt is shown on the user’s phone. If the user does not respond to this prompt an alert is sent to all other phones on the farm with the app installed in addition to sending a text notification to a user set number. This ensures that even if the user is unconscious, others will be made aware of their situation and know that they are potentially at risk within minutes rather than hours of the event occurring. The alarm can also be triggered manually within the app, raising the same alarm and notifying others of the situation. Visit this page to read more information about the app and how to download it from the Google play store visit this page.
Changes to felling licence applications
As from 22 October 2021 the Felling licence application process will be simplified when swift action is required to prevent the spread of pests or diseases and protect public safety. A limited number of felling licence applications directly related to the management of tree pests and diseases may be exempt from being included on the Public Consultation Register before the trees are felled. These changes will be applied to very specific situations, for example to prevent the spread of quarantine pests or diseases. You can read more about the changes online.
Check the health of your farm vehicles with the NFU checklist
Agricultural vehicles, trailers and trailed appliances are covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which places a duty on companies and individuals to ensure that precautions are taken to make work as safe as practically possible. These vehicles and appliances are exempt from the legal testing requirements of many road vehicles, which puts the emphasis on the owner to make sure their equipment is safe and in good working order. Most farming transport accidents occur off-road apply to any equipment that you use at work; this can include tractors, air compressors, chainsaws and even ladders. They require that equipment must be suitable for the task, properly maintained and guarded, and that adequate training and
information about the equipment is available for employees. The NFU has produced a check list to help users of farm vehicles to adhere to the law in a practical way. Visit this link to access the checklist.
Introducing the new Animal Health and Welfare Pathway
Over the last couple of years a group of farmers, supported by vets, specialists and Defra colleagues, have worked together to design a way to help fellow farmers bolster the health and welfare of their stock, whilst at the same time improving their bottom line. The new project is called the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. The programme is set to start in Spring 2022 with a vet visit which will be paid for by the government. They will undertake a health and welfare review of the farm, including diagnostic testing, to set the foundations for the journey along the Pathway. The initial focus will be on improving disease prevention and controlling or eradicating an industry agreed list of diseases in each species. Having completed this first step, farmers will continue along the Pathway supported by Animal Health and Welfare grants which will be launched later in 2022. Visit this page for further information on the new programme.
Mind your head and look out for others on #WorldSuicidePreventionDay
The agricultural industry faces many stress factors, which are placing increasing pressure on workers and putting them at greater risk of mental ill health. These include extended amounts of time working in isolation, a blurring between work and home life, and financial uncertainty. Research by the Farm Safety Foundation revealed that four out of five young farmers (under 40) believe that mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today. In 2018 they launched a campaign – Mind Your Head – to raise awareness of this growing issue in the industry and, since then, one thing has become evident; farmer health and wellbeing can not, and should not, be ignored – by any of us. Friday 10 September is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay – so please remember to mind your head and reach out to friends, colleagues, neighbours and relatives who might be struggling.
UK is now officially free of Avian Influenza – but poultry keepers should remain vigilant
As of 3 September 2021 the UK is officially free of Avia Influenza. This allows market access discussions to reopen with our 3rd country trading partners. However, the UK’s Chief Vet has reiterated calls for all poultry keepers to remain vigilant for signs of the disease as we move into this coming winter. Highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to circulate in both wild and captive birds in Europe and as winter approaches the risk of migratory wild birds flying to the UK over the colder months will mean that the risks for domestic poultry are likely to rise. Visit this page for further advice.
Mobile warm hub tackles social isolation in Warwickshire
As social isolation has risen due to Covid-19, Warwickshire Rural Community Council believes it’s more important than ever to help our vulnerable residents, particularly those living in villages and rural areas. The WRCC new Mobile Warm Hub service, supported by Cadent, uses a converted community transport minibus to visit rural and semi-rural areas in Warwickshire and Solihull on a daily basis. The bus parks in a suitable location and serves free refreshments for a couple of hours. The Mobile Warm Hub carries leaflets and materials about energy saving and home safety matters, as well as information on a range of other community support services. For information about our Mobile Warm Hub visit to your rural community, please call 01789 777986 (Mon – Thurs, 9.00am – 4.00pm; Fri 9.00am – 1.00pm, answerphone service available outside these times) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website to track bovine TB outbreaks
The Animal and Plant Health Agency has launched an online interactive mapping tool for ongoing and resolved TB breakdowns in England and Wales over the past 10 years. The site can be used to find out about the bovine TB situation in your local area, and when purchasing cattle. Visit the site here.
Take 2 minutes to complete the Tractor Wheel of Life
A healthy and resilient business is all about balance. The 2 Minute Farmer is a project which has identified 10 areas that contribute to a balanced farm life and these are all included in a self-assessment tool called the ‘Tractor Wheel of Life’. As the wheel is still in development farmers are being asked to test out the prototype and complete the feedback form. You can either complete the Wheel online or request a paper copy. To download the Tractor Wheel of Life and find out more about the project visit this page.
Set your iphone to call emergency services with 5 clicks of the sleep/wake button
Did you know that you can set your iphone to call emergency services just by pressing the lock button 5 times? Go to “Settings” and search for Emergency SOS. You then need to enable “Auto Call”. You can also select to set a loud warning sound.
RABI launches online mental health support
The farming charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has launched a partnership with Qwell and Kooth to provide a free, confidential online community and counselling service for farmers and their families. The initiative features two distinct sites – Qwell.io/rabi for adults, while Kooth.com/rabi is tailored to those aged 11-17. The websites include dedicated farmer friendly content that addresses farming sector specific challenges such as loneliness, Brexit anxiety, animal health and crop disease and farm debt. Users will be able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as a wealth of discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions. There are many tools, such as a journal to record and track progress against personal goals, as well as tips and articles. In addition, all users can access one-to-one counselling support from BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) recognised, qualified professionals through a chat function. The practitioners are trained in different forms of counselling, allowing them to meet individual needs and preferences.
Search before you dig with the free to use online search service
Did you know that it’s National Safe Digging Week ending on 26 September 2020? Over one third of farmers have hit an underground pipe or cable whilst digging, or know a colleague that has – and tragically, 33 percent of these incidents resulted in fatalities. To dig safely consider using www.linesearchbeforeyoudig.co.uk – a free to use online search service where any individual can check their works against owners’ utility assets. These assets include hundreds of thousands of kilometres of underground and overhead pipelines and cables in the electricity, gas, high pressure fuel/oil, heating, water and fibre optic networks.
FCN booklet “Fit for Farming” for women’s health
Farming Community Network has launched a brand new booklet to help women farmers look after their wellbeing. The booklet, titled “Fit For Farming – Women’s Health Made Easy”, is a female-friendly version of the original “Fit For Farming” booklet. This new booklet is full of useful advice and guidance about how women can look after their mental and physical health. For further information please visit this page. Copies of the booklet will also be available at the Rural Hub “Fit for Farming” events being held at Rugby Livestock Mart, Stratford Livestock Market and other locations during 2021 and 2022. Visit this page for further information.
It’s OK not to be OK
What3words: the app that could save your life
What3words is a free app that points to a very specific location in the world. It has divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3m by 3m (10ft by 10ft) and each having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address. When you download the app it will find your location and give you the 3 words that are assigned to your location – which can be given to emergency services to enable them to locate you straight away. The app does not need a phone connection to give you your three words.
Download the Farmers’ Guardian guide to safeguarding your farm
For Farm Safety Week (14 – 22 July) Farmers’ Guardian has published an Intelligence Guide for Health and Safety, making sure that in a time of increasing numbers of farm fatalities you can take steps to better safeguard your farm and your future. Download your copy here.
The little book of minding your head
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 the workload. Increased understanding, and discussions around mental health will, in time, reduce the discrimination experienced by those who have mental health issues. The Farm Safety Foundation’s Little Book of Minding Your Head offers a pocket guide to understanding mental health and stress management. Download your copy here.
Good Farm Guide published by Health and Safety Executive
A guide entitled “What a good farm looks like” has been published by Health and Safety Executive. The guide will help farmers understand the common risks to health and safety on farms and what can be done to control them. HSE Inspectors will also look at the topics covered in this guide when they visit farms to check that risks are being controlled in these areas. The guide can be accessed here.
Livestock safety focus from the Farm Safety Partnership
The NFU and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership are highlighting steps that farmers can take to better manage risk to themselves, their workers and to the public.
The key messages to industry they are promoting are:
1. Select and use well designed handling facilities, in the yard, buildings and field. Keep them maintained.
2. Never enter an enclosure with a loose bull or when an unrestrained cow is with a calf unless the animals are restrained or segregated.
3. Remove aggressive animals from the herd.
4. Wherever possible separate livestock from the public and select fields without rights of way when cattle have calves at foot.
Further information can be viewed here.
Farm Safety Partnership aims to reduce fatal accidents by 50%
The NFU and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) have committed to work towards reducing farm work place fatal accidents by 50% by 2023. To help achieve this ambition, the NFU and FSP partners are launching a year-long safety campaign focusing attention on four of the top causes of farm work place fatality and injury. The aim of the campaign is to highlight changes that can be made by farmers to farm work place behaviours which, if implemented, have the potential to significantly improve the safety record of agriculture and save lives often at minimal cost.
The first quarter‘s campaign focuses on transport. A new NFU Vehicle Health Check Guide has been released to help farmers maintain and use vehicles safely and comply with the law. The guide can be downloaded here.
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