Open Farm Sunday - are you covered?

The Linking the Environment and Farming (LEAF) Open Farm Sunday is a great initiative that many farmers across the UK get involved in. It provides an opportunity to invite and educate everyone, both young and old, on what it’s like to be a farmer. And with that comes increased risk to you and your farm. As an event host you have a responsibility for the safety of your visitors, have you considered the increased risks associated with putting on such an event and how this will impact your insurance? By planning ahead your day will run more smoothly and can be better enjoyed by all.

Firstly, it’s important to notify your Broker that you’re planning to hold an event. They will inform your farm insurance provider and will identify areas of cover that are either missing or need increasing. For all farms having public liability insurance is a must as it covers you in the event that a member of the public is injured on your farm or when you’re responsible for damage to another person’s property. With Open Farm Sunday some of you will open your gates to thousands of people so it’s important you have the right level of public liability cover. LEAF recommend you have a minimum of £5 million public liability cover. At Rural we offer £5million public liability cover as standard but, we would still need to be notified about the event as it changes the description of your business which features on your policy schedule. Remember, to make sure you’re covered in the event of a claim it's important your insurance policy reflects the activities of your business.

Once you’ve notified your Broker it's essential to ask yourself is my farm safe for visitors? Carrying out a risk assessment will enable you to identify risks and give you the chance to put measures in place to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring on your farm. To help kick start your assessment LEAF have identified the following as key potential hazards on your farm:

  • Static machinery – this should be supervised or locked - do not leave keys in vehicles.
  •  Ladders may encourage visitors to climb and then fall, so should be put away; fixed ladders should be boarded up.
  • Tripping hazards – watch out for:
    • wire or hoses across walkways
    • areas that are slippery when wet
    • broken/uneven concrete.
  • Spray sheds, workshops and slurry pits are strict no-go areas.
  • Pond/open water – put up signs so visitors know where these are; either keep visitors away or supervise the area.
  • Bale spikes should be laid flat on the ground or removed.
  • Fuel tanks should be securely locked.
  • Risk of infection from livestock.

A range of resources are available on the LEAF Open Farm Sunday website to help you run a successful event including their generic risk assessment form, consent forms as well as marketing material. But don’t forget although it may be a one-off event, it's paramount you make sure you have the necessary farm insurance in place in case a member of the public gets injured whilst visiting your farm.