Lessons in farm safety to save lives and boost mental and physical wellbeing have been offered to Bicton College’s newest agriculture students.
The college teamed up with the Farm Safety Foundation on Wednesday (October 9) in a bid to encourage young farmers aged between 16 and 40 to think about their physical and mental wellbeing, in the hope of decreasing accidents and saving lives.
Farm safety training included scenarios based on potential accidents caused by machinery, livestock, working at height and forklifts.
Mock accident scenes were set up around the college’s working farm with students spending time dealing with each emergency situation.
Bicton College, in East Budleigh, said training in farm safety for its new intake aimed to change mindsets and behaviours, inspiring students to look after their physical and mental wellbeing every day.
Roger Clarke, from Bicton College, said: “As a college, we are committed to ensuring our students take their physical and mental health very seriously and are here to support them every step of the way. This is why we request this training at the start of the new academic year.”
“Students and young farmers are such an important target group for farm safety messages as they are the future of the industry.
“As technology advances within farming, the risk of accidents can actually increase.
“While the safety of machinery and equipment has improved, the fact that machines can do so much more can make people complacent.
“It’s great to have an outside organisation like the Farm Safety Foundation reinforce the importance we place on farm safety and for our students to face scenarios they could come across on their own farms when they go home or in their future workplace.”
Stephanie Berkeley, who manages the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “We have a unique opportunity to engage, educate and inspire the students at Bicton College to adopt a positive attitude to farm safety which will guide them throughout their careers and this is something we take very seriously.”
She added: “As a charity, we feel that it is a valuable use of our budget to get face-to-face with the next generation.
“As the farmers of the future, there will be challenges ahead.
“However, young people with a solid knowledge of safe working practices will have a greater capability to make informed and safe decisions which can only stand the industry in greater stead.”
The Farm Safety Foundation is an independent charity, set up by rural insurers NFU Mutual, to raise awareness of farm safety among the next generation of farmers, challenge and change their attitudes to risk-taking and reduce the number of life changing and life ending accidents that continue to give farming the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.