Farrier legal issues

A farrier tending to a horses shoe

Some of the key areas where legislation is likely to affect your business are listed below. The list is not intended to be exhaustive.

What licences does a farrier need?

It is unlawful to practise as a farrier in Great Britain unless you are appropriately qualified and registered on the Farrier's Register. You will need to pay an initial registration fee and an annual retention fee. You can find out more on the Farrier's Registration Council website.

Businesses which keep records of individuals' personal details may need to register as data users with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Since 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation has introduced additional protection for personal data.

The Farriers (Registration) Act (as amended)

This legislation was introduced to prevent and avoid suffering by horses if they were shoed by unskilled persons. It prohibits unqualified persons from shoeing.

As a result of the Act the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) was established. Only qualified people who have been entered on the FRC Register can engage in farriery in Great Britain. Qualification involves a four-year Apprenticeship which includes a level 3 Work-based Diploma in Farriery and several weeks' attendance at an approved college, leading to the award of the Worshipful Company of Farriers Diploma in Farriery. Visit the FRC or Worshipful Company of Farriers website for details. In Northern Ireland farriers can register with the Farriers Registration Council but they are not legally obliged to do so.

Registered farriers must comply with the FRC Guide to Professional Conduct.

Health & Safety, fire

You must also make sure that you comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

The farrier's craft uses potentially harmful procedures and substances. Take care to comply with health and safety legislation to make the workshop as safe an environment as possible for both you and any employees you have.

Matters to which you should give particular attention include the following:

  • the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations which regulate how potentially harmful substances are stored and used
  • the Personal Protection Equipment at Work Regulations, which specify that protective clothing and equipment should be provided to employees where necessary
  • the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations which cover the use and maintenance of hand and power tools
  • the Noise at Work Regulations which require a noise assessment to be carried out if there is a lot of noise in the forge
  • the Manual Handling Operations Regulations which require employers to make sure that hazardous manual handling is reduced to a minimum
  • the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurances Regulations (RIDDOR) which require major injuries and accidents at work to be reported to the Incident Contact Centre. You must keep a record of any reportable occurance

Transporting animals

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order covers the conditions for transporting animals. If you transport animals as part of your business you must be authorised as an animal transporter. For long journeys (over eight hours), vehicles must have been inspected and approved. Drivers or attendants responsible for transporting animals more than 65km are required to hold a certificate of competence.

Environmental legislation

If you also offer blacksmith services such as repairs and maintenance, your work with metals may affect the environment because of processes such as welding that produce emissions that are potentially damaging. There is a great deal of legislation that regulates noise, waste and emissions to air and water so that the environmental impact is kept as low as possible. The Gov.uk website contains guidance for businesses on environmental management and pollution prevention.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a farrier

Contact an insurer and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • premises
  • goods in transit
  • loss or damage to tools, equipment and stock
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employer's liability
  • public liability
  • product liability
  • injury to horses
  • motor insurance (for vehicles)

Visit the Forge Magazine website for details of insurance policies specially tailored for farriers. Members of the British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association (BFBA) can get a discount on their insurance premiums. When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form.

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