Back to the Future?

6 January 2016

Alan Plom (RIG’s Communications Coordinator) writes:

“My apologies that RIG’s News page has been quiet lately but I have been overwhelmed/under the weather and then incapacitated following an eye op. I can now see well enough to write again, so ‘normal service’ will be resumed – but I need your help and feedback.

The start of the year is traditionally a time for reflection and looking forward. I will be posting news of recent incidents, upcoming events and reviews of RIGs activities in our Sector over the past year soon, but I was recently invited by Safety & Health Practitioner (SHP) in my role as Vice Chair of RIG to provide an ‘expert prediction’ for the future of H&S in agriculture. This ‘blog’ was published by SHP Online on 4 January:

“For agriculture, it’s ‘back to the future’. Despite significant technological developments, farming remains a most dangerous industry and continues to harvest the same ‘traditional’ crop of deaths and injuries – mainly caused by transport, falls, livestock and machinery.

“Although ripe for wider introduction of auto-steer, remote control and ‘robot’ machines, we need to find new methods to stop people being killed in the same old ways. The pattern of tragic incidents won’t change until we find effective methods to protect operators, e.g. when cleaning machines under power, and providing training more relevant to field conditions. We need to encourage innovation, e.g. by engaging with operators, colleges and designers but improvements can be stifled by international standards and fears of retrospective litigation worldwide.

“Meanwhile, the national Farm Safety Partnerships seek to change the culture, e.g. through initiatives targeting young people and ‘Safe Stop’ – but this will be a long process.”

Those who know me well will realise that I had a job keeping to the tight word limit. You can also read my and other (more) expert predictions on line at SHP .

If you agree (or disagree) with my observations or would like to contribute an article on any other topic, please contact me via alan.plom@gmail.com.