Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has launched a free Coronavirus safety service to help farmers through one of the most challenging harvests since the Second World War.
The insurer has put together an 85-strong virtual field force of farm health and safety experts to provide the information farmers need to protect themselves and farm workers from COVID-19 through the busiest period in the farming year.
NFU Mutual provides insurance for over three quarters of the UK’s farmers and thousands of other rural businesses – and all these policyholders will be able to use the new service free of charge from Monday 4 May by visiting www.nfumutual.co.uk/business-service
The service will be delivered by NFU Mutual’s Risk Management Services who provide guidance to thousands of farmers and other businesses across the UK.
Farmers can make a request online to get a call back from a consultant and discuss the COVID-19 concerns their businesses are dealing with. They will also be able to download online resources about maintaining social distancing at work and how to manage contractors, visitors and new staff who may have little or no experience of agriculture to help them understand the hazards present on farms.
Ian Jewitt, Managing Director from NFU Mutual Risk Management Services (RMS), said: “Farmers are under intense pressure to keep the nation fed and desperately need specific information on how they can keep themselves, their families, employees and customers safe from Coronavirus during the busiest time in the farming year.
“Bringing in extra workers at harvest now presents huge challenges – from how to regularly wash your hands when you’re working in a field to how you sanitise machinery so someone else can use it. Businesses are also providing their services in new ways, from offering drive-thru farm shops to delivering goods directly to customers.
“Farmers are time poor and it can be overwhelming trying to navigate through the web of health and safety information available and knowing what to trust. The new RMS COVID-19 service connects farmers to real specialists who can listen to concerns and provide practical solutions to these challenges so that farmers can be confident that they can stay safe this summer.”
The service will be available to help with Coronavirus protection for a wide range of agribusinesses ranging from farmers and growers, packers to hauliers, food manufacturers to retailers, as they adapt their working practices.
Ian Jewitt added: “We want to encourage businesses to take advantage of this free service to get our customers back on their feet and put them in the safest position for the future. Coronavirus has made us all rethink how we put safety first, to protect ourselves and others – and the same goes for risks on the farm. By adopting good practices now, we can help the industry to come out better, safer and stronger when the pandemic is over.”
Farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and it is feared that many of these risks could be exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
To help the countryside through Coronavirus NFU Mutual has already announced a £32m support package including donations for national and local rural charities and changes to insurance cover to protect its policy holders. These include free extended public liability cover for farmers selling their own produce directly to the public and an additional temporary uplift on stock. NFU Mutual is also including insurance for COVID-19 in Personal Accident and Group Personal Accident policies.
To find out more please visit the RMS Coronavirus Health and Safety Business Service www.nfumutual.co.uk/business-service