A FARM safety workshop is taking place next week to warn workers about the increased risk of contracting sepsis infections. 

The safety day will be attended by Cornish campaigner Melissa Mead MBE, who lost her son, William, to the disease shortly after his first birthday in 2014. 

Farmers across Cornwall are being urged to attend the Farm Safety Workshop on Tuesday, October 17, at Vincent Tractors, Fraddon, St Columb. 

Six areas will be covered at the workshop including: delivering emergency first aid on farms; working at heights; safe farm transport; overhead power cables and farm security, including the prevention of thefts.

The event is sponsored by NFU Mutual, and those who would like to attend are being asked to contact their local NFU Mutual Agency to book a place.

Ian Maddever, NFU Mutual Insurance Agent, based in Liskeard, said: “Farm safety is so important, and the range of issues covered at this event means those attending will get a broad spread of information and advice to help keep them safe.  I would urge everyone in the area who can attend to register and come along.”

The event comes as figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that farming accounts for just 1% of the working population but 16% of all workplace deaths, according to the HSE Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing Report in Great Britain, 2022-23.

The decision to discuss sepsis comes after the death of livestock farmer Hannah Brown, 26, in 2021. She left behind her partner Ben Richardson and their baby daughter, then just seven months old.

Hannah who lived near Appleby, Cumbria, fell ill on a Friday with flu-like symptoms.  On Sunday afternoon she was warned by a friend she might have sepsis and went to Penrith Hospital. She was transferred to Cumberland Infirmary, where she died later that day.

Health experts say the farming community is more at risk of sepsis due to cuts and grazes, as well as a reluctance to have time off and seek medical attention. 

Melissa Mead, who was awarded her MBE for campaigning to raise awareness of the disease on behalf of the UK Sepsis Trust, will be telling those attending the workshop how to spot the signs of sepsis and what to do to stay safe.

NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist Hannah Binns added: “Farmers are fantastic at looking after the welfare of their animals and stock but less so when it comes to their own health, having a tendency to crack on, especially during busy periods. But it is so important they seek help if they are feeling unwell.”

As well as discussions about sepsis, Carl Tinkler of Kernow Training Solutions will be talking about the common injuries sustained on farms, while Gwyn Barlow, regional manager at NFU Mutual Risk Management Services, will provide advice and safety tips on working at height.

The National Farmers’ Union farm safety and transport advisor Sarah Batchelor will deal with current legislation around agricultural transport on the road and on the farm, including wide vehicle movements, load security, age and licence restrictions and important safety advice.

Advisors on power line safety from the National Grid, Rich Penn and Craig Wakefield-Coates, will discuss how to prevent machinery coming into contact with overhead power lines – and what to do in the event of an incident.