How to limit your exposure to public liability
Rogue livestock, unsuspecting visitors, falling trees, and road disasters. Operating a farm presents a wide range of risks to even the most experienced of farmers.
While these risks pose an obvious threat to health and safety, they can also create issues around public liability.
An accident linked to your farming enterprise may result in unnecessary costs, or at worst a financially crippling claim. And although disaster can manifest in many different forms, there are a number of measures which can be taken to reduce the risk of someone getting injured or claiming a public liability case.
Limit your exposure to Public Liability claims by:
One big problem farmers can face is the potential of legal action if livestock escape and cause damage.
This can lead to a variety of outcomes that can leave you exposed to unexpected costs. For example, your cattle might escape and damage a neighbour’s lawn, hedging and shrubs. Or they escape onto a neighbouring business’s land like a hotel or guesthouse. If this happens it’s not only the cost of damage to your neighbour’s property you have to think about but potentially also the loss of earnings if the business has to close while repairs are made.
Tip: Perform Regular Fence Inspections, Repair and Maintenance
Adequate fencing is vital to keep animals from straying out of bounds. Performing regular inspections can help you identify any weaknesses in the fencing and mark them for repairs.
It’s not just gaps in the fencing you should look out for, it’s important to ensure that the type of fencing is suitable for keeping the animals contained in the enclosure. This is in a farmer’s best interest, not just for liability reasons, but for compliance with the EU Basic Payment Scheme. According to the Department of Agriculture, “appropriate fencing means stock proof fencing that will adequately control the applicant’s and neighbouring farmer’s animals”.
Tip: Build a Stile
Unless you have CCTV coverage of every gate on your property, it’s difficult to know whether ramblers or hillwalkers have remembered to close farm gates after them. By installing stiles in areas that have frequent foot traffic, walkers can pass through the boundary without opening the gate and thus limiting the risk of an animal escaping.