NFU Mutual - The Farm Safety Foundation

The Samworth Brothers Rural Action Award, Winner, 2016

Thousands of young farmers are learning how to stay safe at work thanks to the Farm Safety Foundation, established by NFU Mutual. Farming is Britain’s most hazardous industry; the charity wants to change that.

What the judges said

  • NFU Mutual are passionate about addressing the issues around farm safety.
  • The organisation has excellent clarity of vision and a targeted approach to tackling an issue that directly relates to its customer base.
  • NFU Mutual are leading the way in raising awareness of farm safely issues and have made a significant commitment to this campaign.

Good for society and for business

  • Farm Safety Week 2015 – a collaborative initiative across five nations - gained governmental support and positive media attention at local and national level.
  • Introduction to Farm Safety workshops helped to embed safety in the national curriculum for agriculture students. Over 750 young farmers benefited from training in 11 colleges nationwide.
  • A new generation of farmers were introduced to NFU Mutual, and the organisation built relationships with agricultural colleges across the country.
  • There has been national recognition of NFU Mutual amongst key stakeholders, with the Farm Safety Partnerships now keen to adopt its safety campaign slogan "Who would fill your boots?" for the industry at large.

NFU Mutual: Who would fill your boots? logo

The Farm Safety Foundation is an independent charity established by NFU Mutual in 2014 to engage farmers of the future. The charity aims to help raise awareness of farm safety and reduce the toll of injuries and fatalities which bring heartbreak and misery to numerous families and rural communities every year.

Farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK, with farmers six times more likely to die at work than construction workers. While UK farmers are among the best in the world, farming remains one of our country's most hazardous industries; accounting for 1.5% of workers but 15-20% of all worker fatalities.

The Farm Safety Foundation is working to encourage young farmers aged 16-40 to think about safety in the hope that the number of accidents, whether major or minor, decreases.  

So far, 36,000 members of the Young Farmers Clubs across the UK have benefited from the programme and 750 agricultural students have participated in the foundation’s training programmes. 

The “Yellow Wellies” campaign was developed, led by the image of yellow wellies which asks the question 'Who would fill your boots?' in the event of an accident or death.

The Farm Safety Foundation has enabled NFU Mutual to build links with both industry bodies and future farmers and has therefore helped guarantee the future of the insurance firm.

Background

In 1910, seven farmers from the Midlands launched a scheme to entice new members to the Farmers' Union, by offering insurance at cost price. A century later, NFU Mutual has become part of the fabric of rural life and remains committed to serving the needs of people who visit, live or work in the countryside. 

NFU Mutual offers a range of products, including general insurance, life, pensions, investments and risk management services. These are delivered through a network of 350 agency offices in rural towns and villages throughout the UK as well as through a direct sales and service centre. 

Today, NFU Mutual has over 900,000 customers nationwide and continues to go from strength to strength. 

Forming the Foundation

The company has a long term commitment to CSR and views it as an integral element of the business with every single person within the organisation in some way being able to play a part in its success. In 2013, NFU Mutual conducted research to test the existing safety landscape with 941 farmers and 102 spouses across the UK. The company used these results to establish The Farm Safety Foundation, a charity to help young farmers challenge their behaviours and change their attitude to farming safely. 

NFU Mutual’s Board agreed a £250,000 donation in 2014 to set up the Foundation. A further £250,000 was donated in 2015 and financial support for the Foundation has been pledged up to and including 2018.

The Foundation wanted to show the actual impact of their campaign and so KPIs were set to measure performance during the scheme’s five year lifespan with the hope that there would be a noticeable reduction in accidents and deaths. 

In order for the Foundation to have integrity and sustainability, it was registered as an independent charity and has a separate board of trustees and governance from NFU Mutual activities. 

The NFU Mutual's funding has allowed the Foundation to engage young farmers, deliver advice and training, develop and deliver safety awareness campaigns and conduct research.  

What the Chair of the Judging panel said:

“A passionate approach with a clear focus and an ambition that matches the scale of the challenge.” - Mary-Ann Kilby, Director at Samworth Brothers

What the Chairman of NFU Mutual said:

“As a farmer myself with first hand exposure to farming accidents, farm safety is a subject close to my heart.

NFU Mutual is trying to drive an improvement in farm safety. With an initial donation from NFU Mutual, the Farm Safety Foundation was set up as a registered charity in 2014 and has continued to receive funding from NFU Mutual throughout 2015. 

The charity has forged working partnerships with Young Farmers Clubs, HSE and the Farm Safety Partnerships of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and has already trained over 750 agricultural students in eleven colleges nationwide. 

The feedback has been excellent and I can honestly say that this is a huge step forward for the industry. With the next generation armed to lead positive change when they enter the workplace, I hope we will see a reduction of farming related accidents in the future.” - Richard Percy, Chairman, NFU Mutual