Make safety on the farm your habit this year; FUW president Glyn Roberts.
Byline: Chris Kelsey
WE are still firmly fixed in the realms of winter but there are already little signs of spring, especially as the evenings are starting to get a bit lighter each day.
Many of us will have started the year with good intentions, full of New Year's resolutions, throwing ourselves into 'dry' January or embarking on the latest weight-loss craze.
But old habits die hard, no matter how good our intentions are. After all, habit, not reason, drives most of our day-to-day actions.
So are we too fixated on breaking bad habits for just a short time, whilst ignoring the fact that for things to improve permanently, we need to replace bad with good habits? One good habit we can all start cultivating is to be mindful of our surroundings, especially when it comes to farm safety.
If we consider that on average, one farm worker dies each year as a result of contact with an overhead power line, and many people are simply unaware of the dangers - perhaps we should make it a resolution to take safety on farm more serious.
With this in mind, please remember that if machinery or equipment touches an overhead power line, electricity can pass through to reach the earth - leaving you at risk of serious injury or death. Electricity can also jump across gaps, so even getting too close to power lines can be dangerous.
I would also urge you to make sure you know where overhead power lines (OHPLs) are located on your farm, or where you are required to work.
For example, obtain a map showing the routes of the lines, available from your distribution network operator (DNO), or mark the route of the lines on your own farm map.
So, if bad habits are the problem, good habits should be the solution. And it is not just about breaking bad routines, like forgetting about safety on farm, it is about putting sustainable ones in their place permanently.
Going 'dry' for January doesn't establish good drinking habits for when you go back to normal, just like short-term attention to farm safety won't help you be safe on farm forever.
So if you want to make one good change this year, monitor and tweak your farm safety habits - your family will thank you for it.