FARM Do you use casual help on the farm Make sure you have them covered

If you take on casual help on the farm during busy periods, even if that help comes from family and friends, it’s still essential to ensure the correct insurance coverage is in place. With the best will in the world, accidents can happen and anyone injured on your premises would be within their rights to make a claim for damage, leaving you with the financial cost of any claims that may arise. You might call on younger family members to lend a hand while on a break from education, or you may have a mutual arrangement with a neighbour whereby you help on their farm and they return the favour.  Here’s what you need to know about keeping everyone protected. 

Will Public Liability insurance cover unpaid workers or casual help?

Farm insurance includes public liability as standard, and covers your legal responsibilities to the public, visitors and suppliers should an accident happen while they are on your farm. However, it does not cover you or anyone who is working on your farm, whether they receive payment for those services or not.

How can I make sure I’m protected?

Some farmers think that, because they don’t employ full time staff, Employer’s Liability cover is not relevant to them, but this is not the case. Employer’s Liability Insurance provides protection against a farmer’s legal liability for accidental injury to all employees in the course of their farming duties. You need employer’s liability insurance if other people work on your farm, even on a voluntary basis. This includes if your family and friends help out, covering them and other unpaid workers you have on the farm doing work for you. When organising your insurance, check the age limits as some policies only cover over 16s, and some over 14. 

What do I need to do if I want to help on a friend’s farm?

If you do agricultural work for others, you’ll need your own agricultural contract insurance. This is also the case if you have another farmer or professional who comes onto your farm to do odd jobs. Farmers often help each other out with harvesting, mowing, bailing, ploughing, slurry spreading and hedge cutting. It can also include infrastructure work such as site clearance, building roads around the farm, and land drainage. Speak to your insurer to ensure you have all the cover you need.

How to prevent accidents?

The best way to avoid a claim against you is – not surprisingly – to maintain the highest safety standards and ensure any workers are trained and supervised. Over the years we have seen claims involving casual workers, voluntary helpers and members of the family working on farms. Serious injury and even death can arise from the most basic, routine farm work including herding, transporting and working with livestock; and also busy harvest periods when help is needed to operator machinery. Even simple slips and trips can become dangerous on a farm, particularly if inexperience is a factor.

So, if you are employing someone, the onus is on you to insure them. If you hire external contractors, make sure they have their own insurance. Ensuring you have the correct insurance coverage can be confusing, so it really pays to talk to an expert broker when taking out farm insurance. They have the experience to discuss all the relevant cover options for your farm, securing the right coverage at the best price. Britton Insurance offers a prompt competitive quotation for all farms throughout Ireland and doesn’t require farm visits to quote. Once our farm adviser discusses your needs with you they can generally provide a quotation within 24 hours during the business week.