NFU Mutual issues safety guide for selling at farmers’ markets

The National Farmers’ Union Mutual (NFU) has published a safety guide for producers thinking about selling at farmers’ markets.

Compiled by NFU Mutual technical manager Nathan Brew, the guide outlines five safety concerns that producers need to consider:

Transport

“Transporting staff and produce requires a vehicle that is well maintained and fit for purpose. Consider whether you require temperature-controlled storage and what fuel is required to safely power any refrigeration. Many accidents happen when staff interact with tailgate lifts and flatbed trailers; falls from height are very common, so ensure appropriate risk assessment and safe systems of work are in place to help prevent twisted ankles, broken legs and worse.”

Fire hazards

“Ask organisers to provide a fire safety briefing for the site, so that you and your workers understand the hazards and control measures in place.”

Manual handling

“Where possible, keep the size of any boxes to a minimum and store heavier items at the bottom of the vehicle bed. Better still, use two people to lift anything remotely heavy.

“If you are moving heavy items, use mechanical handling equipment, such as sack trucks and trolleys, where possible, and ensure workers are trained in good lifting techniques. Consider whether you need to wear and/or provide protective footwear when moving heavier loads.”

Your market stall

“Keep your stall and surrounding area clean and free of any clutter – and keep any generators or gas cylinders stored safely with any exhaust venting away from the stall. Ensure everything – goods for sale, refrigerated displays and marketing materials – are stored in a stable and secure manner, so there is no chance off them falling or collapsing.”

Food safety

“Food outlets must register with their local environmental health department. Food must be labelled with a description, weights and sales units, as well as ingredients and allergens (where applicable).”

The move comes as consumer demand grows for sustainable, ethical and locally-sourced produce.

The NFU Mutual described farmers markets as “brilliant for discovering new food and drinks and learning the fascinating ‘field to fork’ stories”.

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