What is #LensLeg and can it save your life on the farm?

National Farm Safety Week prompted farmers to share practical tips about health and safety on the farm, but the Twitter conversation adopted a bit of a funny hashtag... here’s why.

A visual cue

When Phil Latham showed farmers at an NFU council meeting the prosthetic leg of his late grandfather, Len, the reality of poor health and safety practice on farms hit home.

Farmers on Twitter quickly adopted the hashtag #LensLeg. It’s being used to share ideas on how to curb the increasing loss of limbs and life we see on British farms today.

Farms safety must improve

2017 figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding accidents in the workplace show the same old accidents continue to blight British farms, year after year.

Half of agricultural accidents happen to the over 65s, whilst a quarter is caused by moving machinery. The numbers continue to grow but, what’s worse, is most are preventable.

Len Latham lost his leg to gangrene after a horse trampled on it. Now, Len’s prosthetic replacement serves as a stark reminder to all farmers there’s an urgent need to protect yourself at work. Especially since farmers are often alone, working long hours and sometimes in the dark.

Farmers are using #LensLeg to call out bad habits and poor practice.

#LensLeg suggestions

The Cheshire County Chairman’s shock tactic appears to have done the trick. By presenting Len’s leg as a representation of the change he wants to see, Phil Latham has inspired a whole community of farmers on Twitter.

But this is not just chit chat...

Farmers have taken to the #LensLeg campaign with real vigour.

The feed is awash with links, photos and screenshots of real life situations, news items and suggestions for products or improved practice. The community is bursting with recommendations – anything from how to save on the cost of work boots to the installation of an emergency defibrillator.

Overwhelmingly positive and proactive, #LensLeg has become a digital demand for change.

 

“After being inspired by a couple of colleagues on NFU Council, Phil Latham and John Charles Jones, I undertook a challenge to make 30 safety changes in 30 days and with it hopefully start to see a culture change in how my family, staff and I view farm safety. I sued Twitter to record, discuss and commit to making these changes and in doing so allow others to share their thoughts and ideas. 

It was great to see so many others talking about safety and taking on a similar challenge in the name of #LensLeg.

What I learnt was firstly it is not expensive or time consuming to make lots of changes especially as many of them are about a mindset change rather than a physical change.

Having completed the challenge I am now confident in saying we approach safety in a very different way and are certainly starting to see what can be described as a culture change. In the simplistic terms of something isn’t safe we don’t do it – FULL STOP.”

– Stuart Roberts (@HertsFarmer)

Keep farmers safe

Many of the ideas promoted by farmers are simple yet effective measures to adopt, like making sure machinery is stopped and turned off when not in use.

Still, they are initiatives only farmers themselves can put in place or into practice on their own farms. Will you make a start today?

1. Read up on health and safety best practice in agriculture on the HSE website.

2. Share your ideas with other farmers on Twitter using the #LensLeg hashtag to keep the momentum going.

 

As one Twitter user aptly remarks: “That prosthetic limb could be yours in a flash #LensLeg” ~ @woodboroughpark.

 

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