The number of school visits to Welsh farms has grown of late, as has the number of children contracting illness caused by bacteria such as E.coli 0157 and Cryptosporidium. In this article find out what the Health and Safety team are doing to tackle the problem.

Bacteria such as E.Coli 0157 and Cryptosporidium cause severe illness, which can be particularly acute in young children.

In an attempt to reduce the infection rate in this group, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environmental Health staff from Welsh Local Authorities are working in partnership to raise awareness of the risks and how they can be controlled. It is recognised that visits to open farms play a valuable part in the education and development of children.

The HOOF project takes a two pronged attack:

  1. Local Education Authorities will be provided with a resource pack to give to teachers planning visits to these establishments
  2. Joint visits by HSE and Local Authority staff to open farms to assess their working practices, and the controls that they have in place to minimise risk of infection to visitors. In particular, we will check that there are adequate arrangements for hand-washing, as proper hand-washing is essential in preventing ill health

By carrying out joint inspections and raising awareness it is hoped that there will be a decrease of illness due to E.coli 0157 and Cryptosporidium.