Farming is still the UK’s most dangerous occupation with at least one farmer or farm worker being killed every week.
Crushing injuries from being squashed or run over are the biggest killers causing 28% of farm deaths, followed closely by falls from height.
Serious, debilitating accidents are even more frequent, but often go unreported.During safety demonstrations at Livestock 2012, Lantra instructor Brian Rees offered the following crucial safety pointers.
1. Keep loads as low down as possible
2. Make sure mirrors are clean, in one piece, and properly adjusted.
3. Keep the boom retracted whenever it isn’t being used. Farmers often push the boom out when filling lorries and leave it out for the duration of the job. This makes it unstable and increases the risk of turning over.
4. Never pick a person up in a grain bucket or on pallet tines. Falls from height are the second biggest killers in farming and many are caused when people fall from unprotected working platforms
5. For occasional use, use a purpose-built work platform that conforms to the PM28 standard.
6. Only let experienced operators do the lifting and make sure the tilt function is locked.
7. If leaning out of the platform, a harness is also recommended
1. Hydraulic rams can’t be trusted – make sure any ram locks on the machine are engaged, but remember that these are only as good as the pipework.
2. Placing a piece of angle iron on the ram as a physical stop is a much safer alternative.
3. Before working under raised implements such as power harrows, prop it with an axle stand.
1. Make sure link arms and clevice hitches do not rub on the pto guard
2. Damaged guards will not move properly and can end up spinning with the shaft.
3. Make sure chains are fitted4. Properly lubricate the shaft, including the nylon bushes.
5. Safe Stop – before carrying out any work or inspecting make sure the hand brake is engaged, the hydraulics are dropped, the engine is stopped and the key removed.
Five fatal accidents were caused by ATVs last year and there were over 1000 serious injuries. The following advice should help keep you out of trouble.
1. At slow speeds shift your weight to the outside when turning corners. This takes the weight off the inside wheel and allows it to spin, making cornering safer. ATVs have fixed axles with no diff.
2. Make sure you shift your weight properly when travelling on sloping ground. Lean right forward when going up hills and lean back when descending. On side slopes move your weight to the side of the seat and lean into the slope. Many people sit in the middle of the seat and never move their weight.
3. Helmets are essential. Of the last 12 ATV-related deaths, coroners reports show that 10 would have been prevented if the operators were wearing helmets.
4. Motorbike helmets are acceptable as are ATV specific lids. These will withstand the weight of an ATV falling on your head. Don’t wear, chainsaw or cycle helmets as these will not offer enough protection.