A farm industry-led group has launched a campaign to cut the number of deaths caused by agricultural machinery.

The first part of the campaign, organised by the cross-industry Farm Safety Partnership, is called Safe Stop and focuses on accidents caused by poorly-maintained handbrakes.

In the past 10 years, nearly 40 farm machinery operators have been killed by their own vehicles after leaving the cab without applying a working handbrake.

The campaign slogan, available on car stickers, says ‘Next time you leave the cab, think Safe Stop: Engage handbrake; Controls in neutral; Engine off; and Keys out’.

Agricultural machinery dealers involved in the scheme will provide a set of the “Safe Stop” stickers when they carry out the health and safety installation check when customers receive new equipment. This will include an inspection of the handbrake and the purchaser will be advised to place the sticky labels in locations to remind them of the “Safe Stop” procedure.

The campaign was unveiled at a meeting of the safety partnership group at NFU headquarters in Warwickshire on 1 October.

Adam Quinney, NFU vice-president and Farm Safety Partnership chairman, said:

“Sadly there are still too many accidents where people are killed or injured by the equipment they are operating. We hope by encouraging people to follow the steps of the ‘Safe Stop’ procedure, as well as checking the handbrakes of new and existing equipment, we can help to reduce accidents related to machinery.”

The initiative is supported by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) which held a workshop during the NFU meeting to discuss other aspects of machinery safety.

IOSH rural industries group vice-chairman Alan Plom, said: “Although the ‘Safe Stop’ course of action is not a new concept, it is clear from so many accidents that these simple precautions are being overlooked.”

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