Trailers can kill, warns Health and Safety Executive

Farmers haven been urged to take more care transporting feed after a Northamptonshire farmer was crushed to death by an overbalanced tipping trailer.

The farmer was killed after rotten sleepers used to support the trailer collapsed. An inquest ruled that the death was accidental.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) principal inspector, Alan Plom, said farmers needed to look carefully at the practices they have used over many years.

“Just because they have been doing something in a certain way for a long time does not mean it is safe,” he said.

“Purpose-made storage bins should be used for animal feed. But if trailers have to be used, they should remain attached to a tractor if the trailer body is raised,” he said.


When using unhitched trailers, HSE advises the following precautions:

  •  The trailer should not rely on the hydraulics for continuous support. Props or ram scotches must be used.
  • The wheels need to be chocked as trailer parking brakes are often unreliable.
  • The trailer should be prevented from tipping backwards – by securing the draw-bar to the ground or providing a counter balance.
  • All methods of storage should be inspected regularly for damage.


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