HSE farm safety tips: Harvest-time

In the first of a series of monthly safety tips, HSE head of agriculture Rick Brunt gives his advice on how to stay safe during harvest.

Turn off the power

The important tip during harvest is around machinery. If you have any blockages, turn it off before you clear it.

It sounds obvious, but a large number of accidents happen because people leave things in power and put their hands in to clear things.

Rick BruntRick Brunt
Head of agriculture,


You might need to climb over combines, so it’s important to use the right equipment rather than scrambling over the top.

We have recently heard of an accident where someone climbed over the top of the combine, did not disengage the tank and they lost their foot. It was a short-cut that caused him serious injury.

Child safety

As we approach the school holidays, it’s also an important time to think about child safety.

The best practice is to see the farm as a workplace and say that children shouldn’t be there, but we recognise that can be difficult. There are also benefits to children learning about what’s going on.

A lot of work being done by the Farm Safety Partnership is to encourage people to think about farms in a series of zones, so that there’s an area children can play safely, an area they can go when they are accompanied by an adult and zones they should never go in.

That varies from farm to farm, but it’s a sensible way of educating children, managing the risk and keeping everyone safe.

See also: 10 shortcuts that could kill you at harvest-time