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NFU calls for evidence over PPE shortage

THE NFU has launched an online survey to gauge how members are coping with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) on-farm.

There is a global shortage of PPE because of coronavirus, and available stock is largely being diverted to healthcare.

See also: Coronavirus: Three key issues facing the egg sector

The poultry industry, in particular, is highly reliant on PPE to ensure the safety of farmers and farmworkers.

A range of wood particles may be present in poultry sheds, from pure wood dust to a complex mix of organic and inorganic particles.

In the egg sector alone, it is estimated that 25,000-30,000 FFP2 and FFP3 masks are required every week.

Legal

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require employers to remove risks to health, but where this is not possible to provide PPE.

The NFU has said farmers should review their supplies, how they are using PPE on-farm and speak with their usual supplier about stock levels.

And it has launched a survey that it hopes will offer an insight into the scale of the problem.

‘Vital’

A spokesman said: “The information provided through this survey will be used to help the NFU gauge the level of disruption in supply to agriculture as a whole, and which sectors are affected the most.


“The NFU is working with other stakeholders and liaising with government to prioritise the availability of PPE to essential roles in the food sector while recognising the vital need to protect front line workers in the NHS first.”

The survey can be found on the NFU website.