COMPLIANCE – OFF-ROAD AGRICULTURAL VEHICLES
and the very old whose
reactions have slowed,
and they are not as strong
Between those two groups is a
historic culture where people ‘practice at
having accidents’ because they get away
with using unsafe equipment, machinery
and vehicles daily, without incident, and
that becomes the norm, he suggests.
“There is an increasing professionalism in
agriculture, but a farmer might only use
a piece of machinery to cut 20 hectares
of grass three times a year, whereas a
contractor might do 50 hectares in a day,
so there is also that depth of knowledge
with machinery and safety,” he says.
Newbold adds that he believes on a
personal level, that an annual MOT for
anything that uses the public highway
should be mandatory.
The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP)
is working to reduce farm workplace
fatal accidents by half by 2023.
The number of workers who
su ered injuries in agriculture,
forestry and H shing in 2017/18 17,000
Throughout 2019, it will focus on four of
the top causes of farm workplace fatality
and injury: transport, livestock, children
and falls from height.
Transport has been the focus in the
H rst three months of the year. Tom Price,
the NFUs (National Farmers Union) chief
farm safety adviser, says: “Health and
safety are a big issue because agriculture
is not the biggest employer, but the
injury rate compared to the number of
people employed is the poorest,” he says.
The reasons for fatal injury have not
really changed over the years, he argues.
“In general terms, the reasons why
people are killed and the ways to avoid
that are well known. What it comes down
to is how do we change the culture
“We can see that is
beginning to happen; there
is more awareness of risks
and things that can be
done to manage the risks.
The biggest category
though is transport, and
the biggest cause is being
run over by their own vehicle.
That can be stopped by securing
the vehicle when you get out; one key
element is making sure the handbrake
does the job it’s meant to do when you
get out. What we recommend is that the
brakes are annually tested. In terms of
maintenance, people tend to look after
tractors and larger vehicles because
there is a big capital investment.
“The real issue, in terms of road
maintenance, is trailers: often a trailer will
be parked up for long periods. Suddenly
it is needed and people will use it without
doing the basic checks, like making sure
the tyres, brakes and lights work.”
CHECK & INSPECT
It is vital that agricultural workers set up
safe systems of work, and that people
get into the ‘habit of checking the
vehicles, and over a period of time doing
a more detailed inspection’ (see box,
p12). If they do their own maintenance,
they must have the experience and
skillset to do it with proper equipment
and resources, and not misuse
equipment, for example using a forklift as
a temporary lifting platform.
“We want people to look at their
equipment, do a walk-around at the start
and end of the day and, if they H nd a
problem, act on it in a timely way. If you
have H nished with a trailer after harvest,
put it away knowing it is operational so
when you need it next it’s ready to work.”
Will Dickinson (pictured, p12) operates
May 2019 www.operationsengineer.org.uk 11