Safe Potato Operations – Updated training modules and films

5 July 2016

The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has released an updated suite of online, training modules on ‘Safe Potato Operations’ to help prepare staff for the new season.

This is particularly relevant to the case study referred to on Day 2 of Farm Safety Week 2016.

These build on the ‘Potato Council’s’ excellent series of training modules for operators and managers.  The (multi-lingual) modules have also moved from being available only on DVD’s sent to all growers, to videos freely available online via the AHDB’s website.

Importantly, they integrate the importance of health and safety with the correct use of farm equipment and preserving quality and marketable yield.

As Phil Bradshaw, AHDB Potatoes’ Knowledge Exchange Manager, said: “Potato harvesting and handling is an area of work that continues to be one the most dangerous in agriculture. Farm owners and managers have a legal duty of care for their own safety and that of their employees, and the modules are designed to assist you in meeting these obligations.”

The practical film footage used in the modules was developed through consultation with farm owners, managers and operatives and is endorsed by HSE and the Farm Safety Partnership.  It was sponsored by the Potato Processors Association and equipment manufacturer Grimme.

“The training films are an ideal refresher to staff ahead of the season and also provide a powerful training tool for new or casual employees that reinforces the basic messages in a very visual format appropriate to farm workers - even if their first language is not English,” says Phil.

 “The need for formal risk assessments and a review of procedures to eliminate or mitigate risks is included, as well as highlighting the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).”

Each film includes footage of high risk elements, supported by graphics and sub titles in English, Polish, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Bulgarian.  A test of understanding follows each of the modules (except Induction). Each are designed for supervised individual or group training.

A new feature of the modules is the facility to generate a registration form for the group to be trained, allowing supervisors to complete an official record of training.

Topics covered in each module include:

  • Induction – useful for all new employees (permanent or casual) and covering all the general relevant safety risks, including: slips & trips, accident reporting, site rules, machinery accidents, vehicle accidents, manual handling, chemical accidents, drowning in reservoirs and electrical deaths.
  • Harvesting - for all staff involved in harvesting (from harvester drivers, trailer drivers to picking staff), and covers the high risk elements of dealing with harvester blockages and the importance of the Safe Stop procedure.
  • Potato Grading - in field or in the grading shed.      
  • Storage - for all staff involved in potato store management and addresses the risks of working at height and lone working.
  • Handling – for staff involved in transportation, loading, driving trailers and bulkers, and unloading, covering transport in boxes, bulk bags and bulkers.

More information and a contact point is available on the AHDB website.