Chaired the EBG Rural Committee yesterday at Casenove, London. Subject Risk Management for estates, land operations and property businesses. NFU Mutual gave an excellent presentation and Sir Don Curry attended in his capacity as NFU Mutual chairman. Grosvenor Estates H&S Director gave an update on Grosvenor's approach to risk. The most engaging and lively EBG meeting I have chaired!
In a nutshell Estate and farming operations are statistically some of the most dangerous in industry. Last year over 45 people were killed across the farming industry and many more badly injured. Millions of £ in compensation paid, lives destroyed, businesses paralysed - the case studies from the NFU and estates around the table were frightening. Estates who have had serious accidents were taking it seriously, those that hadn't were, in the main, paying lip service.
Legislation is putting the onus on business and importantly managers who are legally liable to ensure a safe working environment and working practices. Equally it was up to everyone in a business to take risk management and safety seriously. It needs to be an emotional thing not just a process thing. That is there needs to be an audit trail of paperwork, processes, reviews etc... But everyone in an organisation needs to think about risk and safety all the time in every operation they perform. Lifting photocopy paper, repairing a barn roof or felling a tree.
Whilst we, at Clinton Devon, have much of the paperwork in place we need to get the principles embedded in our working practices and ethos. That starts at the top with the Trustees and me. Equally it starts with you, those working for the Estate. We have appointed NFU Mutual Risk Management to help us over the coming months. I am keen though that the subject of ensuring a safe working environment and practices is given more than a cursory discussion at team meetings. Don't wait for orders from headquarters - please start discussing how you improve the management of risk in your area of operations, wherever, it may be.