Challenges & Opportunities
Farmers are looking to address the changing needs of our planet alongside the expectations of regulators, consumers, food processors and retailers. There are increasing pressures from climate change, soil erosion and biodiversity loss, and from consumers’ changing tastes in food and concerns about how it is produced. In addition the natural world that farming works with, for example plants, pests and diseases will continue to pose their own challenges.
In the last ten years, almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agricultural work. The most recent HSE agriculture industry ill-health statistics state that the number of people affected by asthma is twice the national average, and about 20,000 people are affected by zoonoses (diseases passed from animals to humans) each year. Workers can be exposed to excessive vibration, noise and dust. Farmers’ Lung is a common form of the condition ‘allergic alveolitis’ and arises from the inhalation of dust or spores arising from mouldy hay, grain and straw. Also people employed in the agricultural sector may have to handle a wide range of chemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides which can cause ill-health effects such as mild allergies, rashes, breathing difficulties, neurotoxicity and chronic diseases like cancer.
The Agriculture sector continues to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing global environment, whilst at the same time recognising the need to regulate and control health risks in the workplace. For the past 20 years MEC have worked closely with businesses in the Agriculture sector to support the risk management process in a safe and regulated way. We work with you to ensure your employees are protected so you can drive change and meet the demands for a more sustainable, efficient and productive business. The biggest challenges currently facing the sector today and in the future are typically:
Skilled Labour Gap: a focus on recruitment, youth training initiatives and consistent learning in order to address the current skills gap.
Direct to Consumer Sales: managing the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model shift in order to maintain a presence and remain competitive.
Carbon Zero: a drive toward carbon-zero and the need to adapt products and processes in order to meet customer demands for a more sustainable, efficient and healthy behaviour from industry.
Automation: a shift towards AI and the fourth industrial revolution helping to boost productivity, streamline production and allow businesses to become more creative.
Modern Materials: the necessity for farming processes to become more energy efficient from a cost and societal perspective.
Digital Supply Chain: investment in 4.0 technologies and remodelling of traditional ways of working in order to deliver a more responsive, adaptive and connected agricultural line.
Your workplace exposure considerations
An occupational hygiene (OH) programme must be prepared to manage a broad range of health risks and it must be thorough, systematic, well-documented, effective and efficient. MEC’s OH Management Services have been designed to help you develop and implement an OH programme or simply enhance your existing risk management programme.
Assessing and managing occupational exposures:
Workplaces today are very complex and the variety of risks associated with workplace exposure to chemical, physical, and biological agents is increasing. Occupational hygiene is defined as the science and art of anticipating, recognising, evaluating, controlling and confirming health hazards in the workplace. See our range of Services for more information.
Training & staff development:
MEC can provide occupational hygiene training to meet your business needs and maintain regulatory compliance. We have experience of training employees at local, regional, national and international level.
How we support you
MEC work with you to help tackle potential health hazards in the workplace so you can make informed decisions as to what measures you need to introduce in order to prevent, or control and minimise employee exposure:
We offer a free pre-site visit to help determine your key aims and objectives, which in turn promotes a healthy business to business relationship and provides you with a bespoke OH service and competitive quote.
Having established the specifics of your OH requirements and determined the level of assistance you need, we will then carry out an exposure assessment at your premises.
MEC's OH reports are written and signed by our Principal Occupational Hygienist and follow the BOHS report writing guidance 'clear and concise report writing’.
MEC believe in the benefits of offering you a continuous aftercare service so we can build an understanding of your OH needs and be on-hand to offer your business our expertise and support at any time and in the future.
The benefits of investing in workplace health
With change comes the need to identify and manage regulatory compliance in-line with your business processes, policies, risks and controls. We understand that investment in health at work is a fundamental requirement for a sustainable agricultural business and as such is regarded as an essential part of your operational management process. The benefits of investing in workplace health include:
a reduction in short & long-term ill health effects and the resulting financial and personal costs
improved productivity, good morale and a happier, healthier workforce
better working practices to help develop a sustainable business
reduced sickness payments and recruitment/training costs for replacement workers
reduced loss of output resulting from experienced and competent workers being off work
lower insurance premiums and legal costs
reduced risk of damage to the reputation of the business
less chance of enforcement action and its associated costs
Over 20 years'
EXPERIENCE & TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
MEC offer a broad range of occupational hygiene services across all sectors of industry