Agricultural Health and Safety

During the last few years, statistics have consistently been showing alarming results for agricultural safety in the UK. Most people would probably not believe it, but it is a renowned fact among safety professionals that agriculture is more dangerous than construction or manufacturing. Every year, on average between 40 or 50 workers are fatally injured, accounting for the highest death rate in UK.

These persistently high rates of ill-health and fatal injuries are even more alarming, if we consider the tiny proportion which agriculture represents for the whole economy. The percentage of national income contributed by agriculture is around 0.5% and it directly employs in a full or part- time capacity around half a million people.

Some of the main problems leading to this high level of safety accidents in farming activities are the un-wise risk taking, the lack of safety training and the fact that most often people are working alone. Among the main causes of injury for the industry are the use of machinery, farm transport, falls from heights and electrical faults.

Apart from the general safety requirements contemplated in the law, duty holders dedicated to farming need to put an additional effort in safety procedures and have a second look on some of the problems. Essentially, more investment of time and money would save a lot of hassle, problems and ultimately- money.

- Training. One of the basic steps for professionals to take in order to avoid accidents in farming is to invest more in training. The law contemplates a large list of specific safety and skills courses, depending on the particular necessities of the agricultural activity. Good safety practice and training becomes a serious issue due to the constant fluctuation of the workforce in agriculture. Very often the contracted temporary workers are young workers or non- English speakers who need additional training, translation and attention in order to avoid serious injuries.

- Falls from heights is the second highest cause of death in agriculture. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 also covers agricultural work at height. Usually the most common reasons for falls in the farming industry are the inappropriate use of ladders, falls from unstable roofs and temporary structures, but mainly the use of unstable access equipment (such as buckets). Managers and duty holders have to bear in mind that this is one of the most common and costly accidents.

- Farm transport. Moving and overturning vehicles is also a common cause for fatal or very serious workplace injuries. The main priority of management needs to be to make sure employees are properly trained and hold the relevant driving licenses to operate the machinery. When employees are using lorries, vans, forklifts, tractors, cars, quads or other farming equipment, it is very important to be sure each worker is trained for the equipment and driving involved. It is common that an attempt of an employee whom is not holding an appropriate license, “to have a go” on a tractor for example, leads to somebody being seriously injured.

7 Basic Principles of Avoiding Legal Conflicts With Employees

As an employer, even if you are committed to complying with employment directives, you can still run the risk of going through some legal problems. Some legal firms, for example, assert that any employer needs to always be prepared for any eventualities. Some of these problems can lead to expenses, negotiations, court appearances, or worse, tend to tarnish your establishment’s reputation.

As much as employer-employee relation is concerned, one of the best ways to prevent problems is to avoid unhappy employees in the first place. This will keep your business safe from issues that might urge them to seek the intervention of the legal system.

This is a difficult mission to accomplish. But since it can save your company thousands or even millions of dollars plus your company’s name, you can apply a few basic principles to avoid getting into a lot of disputes with your workers. Here are some of the ways to avoid them:

1. Treat your workers with respect.

Respect is one of the most important things that can make anyone feel that he is valued. If you treat your employees with respect and kindness, they will also respect the management in return. And if they have a problem, this respect will prompt them to bring the matter to your attention instead of bringing them elsewhere.

2. Do not embarrass your employees in the presence of other people.

Even little children in your family get resentful if you embarrass them in public. If your have a concern for a particular employee, your best move would be to get his attention and talk to him one-on-one. This will make him feel that you value him as an employee. You should make private any personal information your worker discloses to you. You shouldn’t break his trust.

3. Be available for your employees especially when necessary.

Whether you like it or not, as an employer, you are responsible for your employees’ morale and well-being. You should be available for your employees when they feel they are not happy with certain management decisions. Employees should be made to understand management prerogatives and goals. Otherwise, they can become legal issues.

4. Value your employees’ suggestions and let them know it.

No one knows the job better than the person who handles it everyday. Your employees’ suggestions deserve attention when it comes to their job, safety, and general welfare. You should value them and try to implement good ones.

5. Avoid discrimination in the company.

Senseless discrimination is one of the major causes of employee low-morale. You need to be consistent with the way you treat your workers to avoid problems of this nature.

6. Evaluate your employees’ performance on a regular basis.

Employee performance evaluation is one of the most important aspects of business administration. This can help to let workers know where they stand in carrying out their duties. It can help to alert workers if they fall short of expectations so that they can have an opportunity to improve. Employee evaluation can be your best defense against a legal battle if you have to fire a worker for cause.

7. Make decisions based on the employee’s job, don’t make things personal.

If there’s a need to reward or punish a worker, you should base your decision on what he has or hasn’t done that cause the damage. As an employer, you must not make personal grudges or attachments part of management decision. Being objective can help to keep you out and away from legal problems.

These principles are simple and fundamental, but they can help to keep you away from legal problems that might cost you millions and countless sleepless nights.

Common Workplace Issues That May Require The Services Of An Attorney

Your job is your source of livelihood and therefore, you do your best to retain it. While you feel obliged to discharge your duties to the best of your abilities, you also want your employer to make sure that a comfortable working environment is provided to all the employees. You expect to be treated fairly and with compassion by the employer, but at times, situations arise that make you uncomfortable and deter you from putting in your best efforts.

As an informed and aware employee, you should know that federal and state laws are in force to protect the rights of the workers. However, an average employee may find it difficult to understand as to which labor or employment issues are included under the purview of the Labor Law and what types of legal recourses are available to him/her in such issues.

The legal language is such that it is not easily understood by the common man. To ascertain whether a particular law is applicable to your situation, you need a skilled attorney. Therefore, if you suspect that you need to invoke the law to protect your rights as a worker, you should consult an attorney specializing in Labor Law who will assess your case accurately and suggest further action. To find a suitable lawyer, you should log on to a comprehensive local business directory and pick up details about the reputable attorneys whose services you can avail.

Some workplace issues that usually call for the attention of a Labor Law attorney are:

Salary/Wages Issues: The law has laid down minimum wages for different types of jobs. If you suspect that your employer is paying you less than your due, you can get legal assistance.

Illegal Firing: If you think that your services have been terminated without any justifiable reasons, you can consult a lawyer regarding whether the termination is lawful.

Workplace Harassment or Violence: Every employee has a right to have a safe and secure workplace where everyone is treated without any discrimination. While discharging your duty, if you become a victim of violence or are harassed in any way (sexual, racial or any other) by the employer or any of your co-workers, you can seek legal help.

Overtime Payment: If your employer tries to take advantage of you by refusing appropriate overtime wages, you should consult a lawyer.

An experienced lawyer can intervene on your behalf with your employer and mediate skillfully to work out a settlement that satisfies both the parties. In case you do have to resort to litigation in the court of law, a qualified lawyer will know how to present your case and argue in its favor in such a way that you get the justice that you deserve.