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News

New qualifications to help reduce accidents and ill health on farms

HSE InfoLine : 21 November, 2005  (New Product)
New health and safety qualifications aimed at people working in farming have been recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. A Health and Safety Executive initiative, vocational qualifications for health and safety in agriculture are the first such qualifications designed specifically for the farming industry and will pave the way for a new generation of training courses to tackle the industry's poor health and safety record.
Last year 47 people were killed in farm-related accidents, and many more suffered serious injury or ill health. In the last five years 231 people have died, including nine children under the age of sixteen. The aim of introducing the VQs is to focus attention on health and safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by accidents on farms.

HSE has developed the qualifications with the help of a number of organisations including the National Farmers' Union and the Transport and General Workers' Union, awarding bodies for the land-based sector, such as Lantra and the NPTC, and the QCA.

'The farming industry's health and safety record is poor, and these VQs are aimed at anyone working in the industry, from farm workers to supervisors and managers,' explained HSE Inspector Alastair Mitchell. 'These qualifications should help improve the education, skills and competences of the workforce and contribute towards making farms safer places to work.'

Qualifications available under the scheme will be pitched at three different levels. The Level 2 Certificate, Working Safely (in Agriculture/Horticulture), is designed for anyone working in the industry or about to join it, the Level 3 Certificate, Controlling Risks to Health and Safety, is aimed at supervisors, unit managers, and worker safety representatives, and the Level 4 Certificate, Managing Risks to Health and Safety, is for senior managers and owners of large agricultural or horticultural businesses. The Level 2 and 3 Certificates have received accreditation from the QCA, while work on the Level 4 Certificate is at an advanced stage and the qualification should be accredited in the spring of 2006.

Training courses for the health and safety in agriculture VQs are currently in development and should be available in early 2006. All three programmes will have a strong practical bias, and the content will be geared broadly to the type of farming with which the candidate is familiar. Level 2 will focus on the identification of farm hazards, and Level 3 will require candidates to undertake risk assessments. At Level 4, management issues such as producing health and safety policies will be covered. At the end of the training period each candidate will be assessed to check that they have reached the required standard before the qualification is awarded.
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