NFU Mutual publish safety guide for selling at farmers markets

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

A few highlights from the publication are below, however the full guide can also be downloaded here

If you are transporting staff and produce then you need a vehicle which 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 also very common so ensure appropriate risk assessment and safe system of work are in place to help prevent twisted ankles, broken legs or worse.

Fire hazards
Before attending a farmers’ market you should 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.

Things you can do to reduce the risk of a fire include:

Ensuring any canopy complies with British Standards
Reduce the number of potential ignition sources and do not allow smoking
Keep the stall and immediate area free from rubbish and packaging materials
Provide a small, dry powder fire extinguisher and ensure that it is in-date
Have a torch handy if attending markets during winter months
Ensure any gas cylinders are connected by a competent person using the correct hoses and fixings and that they are kept outside the stall, in a safe protected area while in use
Store generators a safe distance from the stall and kept clear of combustible materials and flammable liquids
Store fuel in an approved container and kept in the vehicle when not in use.
Ensure the refrigeration equipment is well maintained and serviced. These units can catch fire and the insulation materials used in chilled vans are often combustible
Use modern, well-maintained extension leads if necessary but limit use
Try to avoid charging appliances around combustible items and try not leave unattended.

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.

If you attend a Christmas market or other winter event, make sure your area is well lit and that you have torches in case the lighting fails. A first aid kit would also be useful if any of your workers sustains a minor injury.

If anything is spilled or smashed on the floor then you must clean it up immediately using suitable gloves where necessary. If your floor space becomes slippery, try and dry the surface rather than only putting out warning signs – cat litter is an excellent absorbent material!

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.

Also, think about hazards from the eye-line of child. Look out for any sharp edges or protruding equipment which could injure a child.

Food safety
All 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).

All food businesses must have a written food safety management system in place. You can produce your own food safety management system but the Food Standards Agency has developed a pack called ‘Safer Food, Better Business’, which you can complete and use for this purpose.

If you handle open food, for example meat from your livestock or ‘home made’ food, it is important that you consider the food safety issues in more depth than detailed in this guidance. All staff handling such food should have training in basic food hygiene as a minimum and hand washing facilities must be available. Cleaning products must be provided and these must be stored safely.