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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Health and Safety

Changes to list of government approved disinfectants

Recent changes made to the list of approved disinfectants throughout February by Defra have resulted in the suspension of some commonly sourced disinfectants for a range of diseases including bTB and a variety of poultry diseases.  If there is a notifiable disease outbreak on your farm, by law you must use a Defra-approved disinfectant at the correct concentration and dilution rate for the specific disease.

Read about the changes to the list of approved disinfectants on this page.  View the list of Government approved disinfectants on this page.

Quicker results for farmers with expanded use of PCR testing for bTB

The Animal and Plant Agency (APHA) has now expanded the use of rapid PCR testing of post-mortem tissue samples from animals with suspected bovine TB infection, following the success of its initial rollout. The new method reduces the time taken for APHA laboratories to report results to livestock keepers from up to 22 weeks to approximately 3 weeks.     For farmers, this new tool will reduce the stress of waiting for results to be delivered and provide earlier certainty about the presence of bovine TB in their herd. For a small proportion of samples the PCR test may not produce a definitive result. When this occurs, livestock keepers will be informed that additional testing could take up to nine weeks.

Keeping on Track – a new podcast tackling well-being in the farming community

Made by the farming community for the farming community, the Keeping on Track series of podcasts, discusses issues which are the main causes of anxiety and stress for people in the farming community, such as the impact of loneliness and isolation, financial worries, the consequences of working with family, multi-generational and immediate family when it goes wrong, how Government policy and paperwork affects wellbeing, and how public perception and misunderstandings about farming issues can be very damaging to farmers’ mental health.  The podcast will look at coping mechanisms, what sort of help is available, how to access it, how to talk about it, how to recognise the signs that normal work stress is becoming a real problem, and what to do when that happens. The first series of Keeping on Track features 10 twenty-minute episodes, with guests exploring several different themes including: loneliness and isolation, financial worries, sleep and mindfulness.  The series features spokespeople from farming charities such as YANA and RABI, as well as experts in farmer wellbeing and mental health specialists, alongside farming influencers and campaigners.

After losing a close farming friend to suicide, TV farmer Adam Henson spearheaded the project the the aim of erasing the stigma of mental health in farming and raise awareness of the challenges that the farming profession faces on a daily basis.   You can access the podcast on this page.  



Build a Health and Safety Policy for your business with the Farm Safety Foundation

Farming is a business and every business needs a health and safety policy.  If the business employs more than 5 employees, the law says that this policy needs to be in writing.   Farm safety is good basic common sense and a health and safety policy doesn’t need to be lengthy or complicated.  It just needs to be tailored to your business and set out who does what and when.    It is also important to regularly review the policy and keep it up to date.

The Farm Safety Foundation has created an online ‘Build Your Own Health & Safety Policy’ digital tool which will take you through a series of simple questions and create a policy just for you. It’s quick and so easy to do – in fact, it’s so easy you could even do it on your phone. It’s free, it can be changed or updated when needed, and it might just save a life.  Visit this page to get started on building your policy.

Sign up for disease alerts from APHA

The Animal and Plant Health Agency offers a free subscription service which allows you to sign up for email or text alerts about disease outbreaks, such as avian flu, blue tongue and foot and mouth.  Read more here.

Sepsis Trust raises awareness in the farming community

Recent experience suggests that the farming community is more susceptible to sepsis: due to the nature of their work; their resilience and can-do attitude; their often rural, isolated setting; and a reluctance to have time off and/or seek medical attention when not feeling well.  The fact is that farmers workers are at increased risk of becoming infected, so any cuts should be cleaned thoroughly, disinfected and covered before returning to work. Sepsis can also be caused by injuries caused from trauma or by illness. If you, or a loved one displays any of the symptoms displayed below, it’s important that you seek medical attention, urgently:

    • Slurred speech or confusion
    • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
    • Passing no urine (in a day)
    • Severe breathlessness
    • It feels like you’re going to die
    • Skin mottled or discoloured

Visit this page to watch a video about Hannah’s story, a 28 year old farmer from Yorkshire who died from the condition.

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.  

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 – for adults, while 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 – 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 cafe.  Visit this page for further information.

It’s OK not to be OK

Please remember its OK not be OK.  Take a look at the Yellow Wellies Mind Your Head page to see where you can access support when the going gets tough.   The Farming Community Network support line is open every day of the year, 7.00am – 11.00pm.

Tel: 03000 111999 or email



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.  

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.

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The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
Archway Cottage, 2 Church Street, Marton, Rugby CV23 9RL

Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA


Rural Hub


Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291


Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson


Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm




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