Using farm vehicles and equipment safety

Farmers work with high-powered technology and large agri vehicles daily, and it only takes a spilt second for a serious accident to occur.

Farm equipment is involved in more than one in three farm-related deaths, according to the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union encourages members to follow the equipment safety checklist below:


• keep all guards in place on tractors and equipment

• ensure PTO shafts are fully guarded (O-guard, U-guard and shaft) and the safety chain is attached

• make sure that all mirrors and cameras (if fitted) are clean and fully functional on tractors and telescopic handlers

• keep all windows clean and make sure you check all round before carrying out any manoeuvre

• ensure you have good all-round visibility on tractors and telehandlers

• when pulling heavy machinery equipped with hydraulic brakes, make sure the brakes are connected to the tractor and work properly

• keep the brakes on all your machines properly maintained, especially the parking brakes

• operate tractors with enclosed safety cabs or roll bars

• take care when mounting or dismounting tractors or telehandlers

• only start your tractor from the driver’s seat and make sure that your tractor’s starter system works properly

• check all hitches and linkages to ensure they are not worn or damaged

• make sure equipment is stopped fully before clearing blockages, which need to be cleared by hand


• attempt to repair machinery if you do not have the correct tools and equipment and are not competent to do so

• run a tractor down a slope to start it

• check hydraulic pipes for leaks by running your finger along them while they are connected and under pressure

• work underneath a raised load or implement unless it is adequately propped

• work near overhead power lines when tipping trailers or using high-reaching machinery

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