Safe Handling of Farm Equipment and Vehicles
Modern tractors, telehandlers and other equipment have given farmers the ability to work more quickly and efficiently. But this machinery brings new dangers.
Farm equipment is involved in more than 1 in 3 farm-related deaths. These machines are also involved in many accidents which result in life-changing injuries such as the loss of a limb.
Think about safety at all times. Always take care when mounting or dismounting the vehicle. Only start the vehicle with a key when in the driving seat. Check brakes are working properly and keep them maintained.
Think about the Safe Stop procedure and always follow it. Complete four simple steps – apply the hand brake, put the controls in neutral, turn off the engine and remove the key.
Think about all round visibility. Drivers should be able to see around their vehicles to drive and manoeuvre safely. For a tractor this normally means having the side mirrors in place. Achieving all round visibility with telehandlers will depend on the design - is the boom front or side mounted? Your telehandler may require side mirrors and sometimes a fish eye mirror or camera at the back.
Think about added hazards. Other equipment that can be attached to a tractor, may bring additional dangers.
Remember to think about others who may be hurt – family, employees, visitors. Make sure equipment users are trained and competent. Never put an inexperienced person or a child at risk with farm equipment and vehicles.
Managing other hazards
There are many other dangers associated with farm equipment, so it is vital to be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent accidents. When clearing blockages in a machine attached to a tractor, be sure both tractor and machine have been fully stopped and there is no power going to the machine.
Before carrying out any repairs to equipment, check that you have the appropriate equipment for the job, such as a trolley jack, correct props, etc. Consider employing a competent mechanic to carry out the repairs. Be aware of the height of any overhead power lines near where you are working and avoid tipping trailers near them.
Pulling heavy machinery such as slurry tankers and large trailers will make stopping the tractor more difficult. Always attach the hydraulic brakes if fitted.
UFU Member, Beef and Sheep farmer from Aughnacloy