Chapter 3 – Consider the health and safety implications of a farm visit
Alongside the usual health and safety measures you put into place when working with young children, there are some specific measures that you will need to be aware of when visiting a farm. As with many other educational or recreational activities, visits can never be considered free from all risk. However, while the hazards are real, the risk of infection in children can be readily controlled by simple everyday measures. The following practical steps will help make your visit even more safe, healthy and enjoyable.
Firstly, your risk assessment for the visit may identify some specific hazards that may not appear on a normal assessment. Use your pre-visit as the chance to talk to the farmer about the risk assessment. They will know their farm better than anyone else. They will also be used to hosting group visits, so will be aware of any specific hazards that you might need to add onto the risk assessment.
Before the visit
Ensure that all staff, adult helpers and children are well briefed and know the expectations of them, also that they know what to do in an emergency. Share the timetable for the session and write a ‘safety policy’ for staff and volunteers before the visit and ensure that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing. Write a letter to parents to tell them about the visit and to allay any concerns. Reassure parents that risk assessments have been carried out and that a pre-visit has been undertaken. Explain your reasons for the farm visit and explain the need for children to experience this new and stimulating environment, also explain that with suitable clothing for the visit, potentially getting wet and dirty will not be a problem.