The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is urging farmers to take some time over the next couple of weeks to consider the maintenance of their machinery and equipment.
Modern farm machinery helps farmers to work more quickly and efficiently, but can also present many dangers if not kept in a good condition. This time of year, before work pressures change, offers a good opportunity to carry out a full service or any necessary repairs.
However, farmers should also bear in mind that there are also risks involved in the maintenance of machinery and appropriate steps must be taken before carrying out any repairs.
Firstly, the correct equipment must always be used for the job - this may include wheel chocks, a trolley jack and suitable props. Farmers should also consider employing a competent mechanic to carry out repairs.
The following HSENI checklist should help you and others to stay safe on the farm.
keep all guards in place on tractors and equipment, especially PTO guards
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
make sure equipment is stopped fully before clearing blockages, which need to be cleared by hand
operate tractors with enclosed safety cabs or roll bars
take care when mounting or dismounting tractors or telescopic handlers
keep the brakes on all your machines properly maintained, especially the parking brakes
only start your tractor from the driver’s seat
make sure that your tractor’s starter system works properly
when pulling heavy machinery equipped with hydraulic brakes, make sure the brakes are connected to the tractor and work properly
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
work near overhead power lines when tipping trailers or using high reach machinery
check hydraulic pipes for leaks by running your finger or hand along them while they are connected and under pressure
Accidents involving equipment is one of four areas targeted by the Farm Safety Partnership’s farm safety campaign, ‘Stop and Think SAFE’. The campaign targets the four main causes of death and injury on our farms - slurry, animals, falls and equipment (SAFE).
To find out more about the ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ campaign, please contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121 or visit: www.hseni.gov.uk/farmsafe