FARMERS have been told to pay closer attention to health and safety around livestock, with the Health and Safety highlighting several recent livestock handling incidents.

Each year a number of people are killed or injured in incidents involving cattle – and HSE has reminded farmers that these incidents can be prevented.

HSE inspectors are currently visiting farms to remind farmers of their duty to protect themselves, their workers and members of the public from the risks posed by cattle. If their precautions are found to be lacking, those inspectors 'will not hesitate' to use enforcement to bring about improvements

Throughout the inspections, HSE will be reminding workers that when working with livestock, they should have the appropriate controls in place:

• Proper handling facilities, which you keep in good working order;

• A race and a crush suitable for the animals you handle;

• Trained and competent workers; and

• A rigorous culling policy for temperamental animals.

The focus on livestock is part of a programme of inspections over the next twelve months to ensure farmers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.

HSE’s head of agriculture, Andrew Turner said: “The campaign focus is timely as last year eight people died on farms in cattle related incidents, nearly one quarter of the total deaths on British farms.

“Last year 33 people were killed in agriculture across Britain and those working in the industry need to realise that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming and can be prevented.

“We must not become complacent and accept this as the norm. Farmers should plan their work, know the risks and use the right controls to ensure that everyone can go home healthy from their work.”