Every farm insurance policy should include Public Liability Cover to protect the farmer in the event of damage or injury connected to their property. The risk of accidents is ever-present when running a farm, but there are steps you can take to minimise them.
Livestock can be unpredictable, so poses a particular risk for farmers. Keep them in secure enclosures, maintaining the boundaries to avoid any breaches. Certain policies may stipulate that fences must be stock-proof, so ensure your enclosure is suitable for the animal being kept there. Sheep are particularly good at escaping and are easily panicked, so can be dangerous in traffic. Bear in mind the risk is not only connected to accidents – escaped cattle or sheep can damage garden shrubs and lawns, or if the damage impacts a business you may be liable for the owner’s loss of earnings.
TOP TIP Wear hi-vis jackets when moving animals on public roads, make sure you have plenty of help, and try to keep them as calm as possible.
Farm machinery can be cumbersome and visibility can be poor in certain situations. Familiarise yourself with traffic blind spots and awkward bends in your locality. There are specific rules pertaining to agricultural vehicles laid down by the Road Safety of Ireland, covering areas such as weight, dimensions and correct lighting. Learn more on their website at www.rsa.ie.
TOP TIP When moving particularly large pieces of equipment, have someone travel ahead of you to warn oncoming cars to slow down if necessary.
It’s impossible for a farm to be pristinely clean, but certain hygiene measures are essential. The Road Traffic Act 1993 states that a farmer is responsible for dirt left on the road that might cause an accident. If you have to move animals on a roadway, clean up any muck to avoid pedestrians or other vehicles slipping.
TOP TIP Regularly wash the tyres of your vehicles used for transport, to prevent muck transferring to the roads around your property.
Directives at both governmental and EU level means farmers could be held accountable for environmental spills that occur on their land, leaving them liable for both their and their neighbours’ clean-up costs. To avoid out-of-pocket expenses, it’s essential that any insurance policy held on the farm covers these kinds of spills.
TOP TIP If you need to store any possible pollutants such as fertilisers, pesticides, fuels or feedstuffs, handle them carefully and store them away from watercourses.
Keep up with essential maintenance, calling in specialists where appropriate. Large trees, especially on boundaries, pose a particular threat of losing branches or even coming down entirely. A tree surgeon will be able to advise any action that is needed to prevent falling trees. Farm outbuildings also need regular maintenance to ensure they are safe both for members of the public.
TOP TIP Set reminders on your phone or laptop for all the elements that need to be examined, including buildings, boundaries and storage areas.
You will also want to keep your farm as safe as possible for visitors or those passing through. To avoid gates being left open by walkers, think about locking them and putting styles alongside. Escaped animals are at best an inconvenience, and at worst a danger to themselves and those around them. Clearly mark and secure hazards such as slurry pits and quarry areas.
TOP TIP Have signage at entry points to let visitors know they are entering a working farm and should proceed with caution.
Established in 1972, Britton Insurance has a long-established track record of providing competitive quotations that meet your specific needs. Our farm insurance team are all fully trained professionals with years’ of experience in the Insurance industry.