Warning as farmers helping each other out with work poses potential insurance liability
Although the culture of helping out and trading labour between farmers is dying out in many parts of the country, there are times when a helping hand from family members or neighbours carries with it a greater burden for the farmer in terms of liability and insurance than most realise.
Most farm policies of insurance provide cover for public liability which would ordinarily cover visitors and potentially even trespassers on the lands.
However, if the 'visitor' onto the farm is providing labour to the farmer/land owner, they may well be considered an employee within the meaning of the insurance policy and the policy may not cover these people if they were to acquire an injury on the farm.
The important distinction is between an 'employee' and a 'visitor'.
If a person is carrying out work on the farm it is likely that they would be considered an employee rather than a visitor, even if they are not paid a wage/salary from the farm. If a person is considered an employee insurance cover for employer's liability is necessary to protect the farmer from potential claims in the case of incident/injury.
There are a number of factors that a farmer should bear in mind when having family/friends/neighbours carry out work or lend a hand on the farm.
Neighbours v Employees
In many cases, where the farm owner has an insurance policy in place to cover injuries to employees, a Risk Assessment document will be sought by the insurer.
Farmers (although the vast majority are self-employed) must prepare a Safety Statement to comply with Section 20 of the 2005 Safety, health and welfare at work Act.