Ensure farm safety is paramount at all times

Summer ‘23 will certainly be remembered for all the wrong reasons, with the wonderful weather in June quickly turning into one of the wettest summers for many years.
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All can be hoped for now is some sunnier September harvest weather to complete combining, extend grazing and dig potatoes.

Most of the silage making for July and August has been stop/start with a week’s work having to be squeezed into a few days at a time.

It’s becoming essential to have machinery that’s capable of huge volumes of work in a short period, but in turn this must be balanced against the cost of the kit, especially when there is so much down time.

A panoramic view of a combine harvester with an incoming summer storm. (Pic: Shutterstock/PJ Photography)A panoramic view of a combine harvester with an incoming summer storm. (Pic: Shutterstock/PJ Photography)
A panoramic view of a combine harvester with an incoming summer storm. (Pic: Shutterstock/PJ Photography)

As a result of these shorter, hectic periods of work, the focus on farm safety and machine maintenance can get pushed down the priority list.

The build-up of dried material such as grass and straw around engines, combined with heat and oil, can cause vehicle and machinery fires resulting in the loss of an essential piece of kit right at the time it is needed most.

It’s very important that care is taken to clean down machinery especially items such as combines, self-propelled harvesters and balers and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on daily maintenance so that work can be completed before the next rain arrives.

The Health & Safety Executive NI (HSENI) has announced it is carrying out a series of unannounced farm visits to check that tractors and other machinery are safe and fit for purpose.

AbbeyAutoline is an affiliated member of the Farm Safety Partnership Scheme and supports this HSENI initiative to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries associated with agricultural vehicles.

From 2013 to 2022 there have been 53 fatalities in NI– 17 of those involved farm vehicles. By announcing these farm inspections, the HSENI hope it will prompt farmers and contractors to check their tractors and machinery are adequately maintained and that drivers hold the correct licences/training certificates for certain vehicles such as telehandlers and all-terrain vehicles.

Autumn is also the time of year when sheep farmers will be priming their rams, ready to be dispatched to the fields for tupping and the start of the cycle for next spring’s lamb crop.

Just like working with bulls, farmers need to be careful around rams, always keeping safety in mind. Rams can be boisterous and easily cause major injury if not handled correctly.

It is important to always keep an eye on the ram when checking the flock and never turn your back on him. Rams can become protective of the ewes and aggressive towards anyone else in the field. Their speed and power can be underestimated, and they have the potential to inflict serious injury with a single blow.

Take care even when attending breeding ram sales, especially when examining potentially new purchases in their pens. Pay attention when rams are moving from pen to sale rings to prevent you from getting a knock or injured.

Farmers need to have public liability and employers’ liability in place to protect them against any injury or damage caused to any third-party person or employee, even if these workers are part time or even just helping out in a voluntary capacity.

Public liability will also extend to provide cover while livestock are at mart sales. Just because an incident happens with your livestock on the mart premises, does not exempt you from liability. The owner of the livestock will also be potentially held liable for injury or damage that your livestock inflicts on another party.

For further information or advice on Agricultural Vehicle Insurance, Liability Insurance or any other issue relating to Farm Insurance then please contact the specialist Farm Team at AbbeyAutoline, 08000 66 55 44 or visit https://www.abbeyautoline.co.uk/farm-insurance.

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