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Red Tractor revised standards in 2021

In recent years, we have witnessed a significant cultural shift with health and safety in agriculture and farming. To say this positive change has been welcomed with open arms is an understatement. Its figure from the HSE like the below that demonstrate why farm safety is taking priority in the United Kingdom (UK).

Between 2020 and 2021 in Great Britain there have been 41 people killed in agriculture. 18 more than last year and 8 more than the five-year average. These figures tell us that more needs to be done when it comes to risks and hazards on farm.

You’ve probably heard the news that Red Tractor have revised their scheme, only the fifth time to happen in its 20 year history. In order to streamline their standards, Red Tractor consulted industry-wide over a two month period. Covering the entire food supply chain, this consultation period included reviewing more than 3,000 pieces of feedback which was supplied to the technical advisory committees and sectors boards. This revision will focus on animal welfare, workers’ rights and environmental protection.


What is Red Tractor

In case you didn’t know, Red Tractor is the largest food and farm standards scheme within the UK. It assures consumers that all produce bearing its logo is 100% British and meets a set of standards across food production, animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection. Championing British farmers and their produce, almost a third of British farmers are Red Tractor Members.

If you are running a business related to farming and agriculture in the United Kingdom (UK), you need to know about Red Tractor. Assuring 75% of UK agriculture, the scheme is now making a shift in focus to worker health and safety.


Why are Red Tractor changing its standards?

With new Red Tractor standards going live in Autumn from the 1st November 2021, it is a requirement that all farms with workers must have a written health and safety policy. This is a slight advance on the legal baseline which only applies to businesses with more than five employees. Given high fatality figures in agriculture Red Tractor believes it is essential to check policies are in place and communicated to workers.

Based on feedback from its 46,000 members, Unions, farmers and growers, Red Tractor dropped some of its original proposals. The NFU have outlined the key changes for each sector on their website, covering beef and lamb, chicken, combinable crops and sugar beet as well as dairy, fresh produce and pigs.

Other changes include a focus on record keeping, worker training and risk assessments. Here are some examples of the updates:

  • Record keeping systems for introduction of biological controls 

  • Strengthened and upgraded approach to field/production site risk assessment to better manage risks from historic and adjacent activities. 

  • Anyone involved with the care of pigs must now complete online pig welfare training in key areas including best practice around moving and handling pigs to ensure consistent training so that all pigs are always treated compassionately. 

  • On beef and sheep farms, at least one person must have undertaken training to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance and drive best practice in medicine use (now matching the dairy sector).

  • In the beef sector, Farms will be asked how they are taking action to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea. This needs to be documented in a health plan and implemented. This new recommendation will become a full standard from October 2022, allowing members a lead time for a change in system or testing routine where necessary to control endemic disease.

UK Farm - unsplash

A written health and safety policy

Adopting best practice in health and safety means preparing policies that clearly communicate, establish and demonstrate a commitment to protecting the health and safety of workers, managers, contractors and anyone else on farm. HSE states that,

“The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety. A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.”

With reduced danger and risk, a well executed health and policy should support reduced employee churn, increase satisfaction, resulting in higher productivity, saving time. When creating your policies, you have a duty to consult with workers and others. Consultation is a two-way conversation where you talk with, and listen to, your workers.


How can we help make health and safety a priority

Get ready for the new standards on the 1st of November with Safe Ag Systems. A health and safety policy is the overarching document but there are a number of policies and templates you should develop and share with your workers:

  • Work Health and Safety Policy

  • Operating Machinery and Equipment Policy

  • Chemical and Chemical Spill Incident Policy

  • Contractor on Farm Policy

  • Fit for Work Policy

  • Risk Assessments

  • Emergency Procedures

To read more about record keeping for compliance and Red Tractor certification, our team has put together a list of examples including chemical records, emergency plans, visitor records and more.

With the right support and the right system, managing your obligations is simple. Get access to our range of templates, start your FREE 7-Day Trial now!

Setting up your safety system is easy! It takes three simple steps to tailor a digital safety system for you.

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Safe Ag Systems was designed specifically for agribusiness owners, allowing for easy management of legislation compliance and regulation requirements in the workplace. Safe Ag Systems offers a cloud-based safety solution for small and large-scale family farms, developed in a way that farmers can understand.

As a leading product that can have real, practical benefits for farmers, its software reduces administration and makes families and workers safer. Based on common principles, the digital safety management system supports agricultural businesses induct, train and manage their workers without having to compromise on productivity and quality assurance.

Topics: Record Keeping for Compliance

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Disclaimer: Content on this website may be of relevance to users outside of the United Kingdom, but content links and examples are specific to the United Kingdom. Please check with your local authority for your country and industry requirements.

Originally published 25 October, 2021.

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