In light of the continuing coronavirus restrictions, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) reminds members that they are required to comply with new COVID-19 business and health and safety measures set by Scottish Government and regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Alongside making available increased sanitation and hygiene stations, farmers and crofters need to keep a track and trace register, including full name and contact number of everyone who has been on farm, and conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment.
With agriculture and food production classified as an essential service, and one of the 13 designated Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors, QMS Chief Executive, Alan Clarke, said:
“There are steps that need to be taken to ensure that farmers are equipped to manage the risk associated with running a business during the pandemic and that those employed on farm are COVID-secure.
“Protecting the health and welfare of our members during this time is our highest priority. Farmers understand disease transmission. Let’s use that knowledge to keep our people and livestock healthy and well-cared for every day.
“HSE is conducting inspections to a range of businesses, including to farm businesses, and members need to be aware that a risk assessment identifying the on-farm measures that have been put in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19 must be completed. This is alongside a track and trace log of everyone who has come onto the farm and non compliance could result in action being taken.” .
Alongside these measures to help reduce transmission, it is also recommended that a contingency plan be developed to ensure the welfare of stock is not compromised if family or staff become unwell.
A contingency plan will provide a clear, documented emergency plan which will highlight potential risks and a list of key contacts.
Kathryn Kerr, Head of Brands Integrity at QMS, said:
“Having a plan in place will help members prepare for the unexpected and ensure that animal health and welfare standards can be maintained by all stakeholders as part of the ‘whole chain’ assurance scheme.”
The latest government guidelines, risk assessment and contingency plan template can be accessed via the QMS website.
HSE risk assessment template here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/risk-assessment-template-and-examples.htm
Information regarding remte assessments and contingency plans available here: https://www.qmscotland.co.uk/qms-coronavirus-update