Back in April we posted a series of blog posts covering ‘What we do’, so following on we would like to break them down a little more and today lets talk Agriculture Training.

Compared to other industries, Agriculture, forestry and fishing remains the most dangerous.   More accidents happen in this industry when compared with Transportation, Manufacturing and even Construction.   Kentra Training is based in rural Cheshire and we work with all sectors of business, but we love to help improve health and safety in and around our farming community.

Agriculture Training

In the last ten years, according to the HSE website, almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agricultural work. Many more have been seriously injured or made ill by their work. People have a right to return home from work safe and sound.

Many recognise the benefits of reducing incidents and ill health among their workers, and are aware of the financial and other reasons to aim for and maintain good standards of health and safety.  It is a fundamental requirement of a sustainable farming business and should be regarded as an essential part of farm business management. Unwise risk-taking is an underlying problem in the industry and those working on their own are especially vulnerable.

Injuries and ill health in agriculture

Farming is a hazardous industry. Farmers and farm workers work with potentially dangerous machinery, vehicles, chemicals, livestock, at height or near pits and silos. They are exposed to the effects of bad weather, noise and dust. The risks also include family members working at the farm and children living at the farm.

Agricultural work can also be physically demanding and the repetitive nature of the work causes a range of health problems, including severe back pain.

With high numbers and rates of fatal injury, agriculture, forestry and fishing is the riskiest industry sector. Just over one in a hundred workers (employees and the self-employed) work in agriculture, but it accounts for about one in five fatal injuries to workers. Further information on numbers and rates of injury and ill health in agriculture can be found at:

The costs and causes of death and injury

The total annual cost of injuries (in farming, forestry and horticulture) to society is estimated at £190 million (1) and around two-thirds of that is due to reportable injuries (£130 million), with fatalities accounting for around another third (£55 million).

The most common causes of death are:

  • transport – being struck by moving vehicles;
  • being struck by a moving or falling object, eg bales, trees etc;
  • falls from height;
  • asphyxiation or drowning;
  • contact with machinery;
  • injury by an animal;
  • being trapped by something collapsing or overturning;
  • contact with electricity, nearly two-thirds of which involves overhead power lines (OHPLs).

There are many more injuries which do not result in death. Less than half of reportable injuries to workers across all industry sectors are reported each year, but the level for agriculture, forestry and fishing is much lower. Surveys suggest that of those injuries to workers in agriculture (the most serious) which should be reported by law, only 16% are actually reported. HSE estimates that there could be as many as 10 000 unreported injuries in the industry each year. Each one involves costs to the injured person and to the business.

Agriculture Training


There is a minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to agricultural machinery – even if they only operate the equipment occasionally.  It is the Employers duty to comply with the relevant legislation, ensuring that all operators you employ, both new and existing, are
adequately trained and, when necessary, provide additional or refresher training.

If you are self-employed, you need to ensure you have undergone the same type of training, achieving the same standard, as employers are required to provide to their employees.

Who should you train?

Potential operators should be:

  • reasonably fit, both physically and mentally, to safely control and operate lift trucks, with the learning ability and potential to become competent operators;
  • reliable, with a responsible attitude to their work;
  • physically capable – you should assess this on an individual basis. You may need to get medical advice and make reasonable adjustments to enable some disabled people to work as lift-truck operators. The Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply.

Children – driving or operating farm machinery

The law says that no child under 13 may drive or ride on tractors and other self-propelled machines used in agriculture.

Before allowing children over 13 to operate a tractor, certain conditions must be met. We describe these in full in HSE’s free leaflet Preventing accidents to children on farms.

Children under 16 must not drive, operate, or help to operate, any of the following:

  • towed or self-propelled harvesters and processing machines;
  • trailers or feed equipment with conveying, loading, unloading or spreading mechanisms;
  • power-driven machines with cutting, splitting, or crushing mechanisms or power-operated soil-engaging parts;
  • chemical applicators such as mounted, trailed or knapsack sprayers;
  • handling equipment such as lift trucks, skid steer loaders or all-terrain vehicles.

All young persons must attend a novice course, as their initial training – Any experience claimed for operators gained prior to 16 years old will not be accepted by our awarding body NPORS.

Agriculture Training

How long should a basic training course last?

It is difficult to specify how long a course should last as there are many issues which affect the rate of learning. Every person is different and therefore our courses are tailored to the candidates individual needs. Operators with some experience of machinery or relevant experience of similar vehicles may need less extensive training than those with no experience, however, do not overestimate the value of such experience.


Our instructors continuously assess a trainee’s progress to ensure they achieve the required standards throughout the training duration. At the end of the course, the trainees will have undertaken a theory and practical assessment, to demonstrate that they have the necessary practical and theoretical knowledge and skills to operate lift trucks safely.

Monitoring and assessment

Even those candidates who are trained and experienced need to be routinely monitored and, where necessary, refresher training or experienced worker tests undertaken to make sure they continue to operate equipment safely.

How often do I need to provide refresher training?

There is no specific time period after which you need to provide refresher training or formal assessment. However, the HSE recommends refresher training or testing every 3 to 5 years, or earlier if there is an accident, incident or long period of absence from operating a truck. This is the best way to make sure employees remain competent. Where you adopt this approach, you will still need to monitor performance, in case operators need extra training before the set period ends.

Agriculture Training


Agriculture Training

Other Training

Even though today we are talking about Agriculture Training, we provide much more with over 100 different courses in our portfolio  a full course brochure can be downloaded from this website – so have a look at what we do.

Our trained office staff are waiting to help you with any machinery, equipment or other health and safety training requirements or questions regarding the courses we offer.   Just click on this link for the ‘Get in Touch‘ option or give us a call on 01606 832 556.

The Kentra Training Team are waiting to help.

Agriculture Training