It’s harvest time again, a time when farmers traditionally work even longer hours. In the old days hours were restricted by the amount of light available, but that’s no longer a problem in the fields thanks to headlights.
This means that farm workers are going to be tired at this time of year, and tiredness can lead to errors which can lead to serious injury and fatality.
It doesn’t matter how old or experienced you are, you must always be aware of farm safety. The Health & Safety Executive runs free half-day Safety & Health Awareness Days (SHADs) for the agricultural industry to refresh the safety training and knowledge of anyone and everyone who works on a farm. At worst, you’ll spend time being reminded how to stay safe; at best, the information and awareness given could save your life.
It’s not just to prevent injury
Even if you think of health and safety in purely financial and business terms, taking steps to prevent injuries is a worthwhile exercise. As a farm owner, you would be looking at a rise in insurance premiums and may even be at risk of prosecution after an accident. This makes safety awareness and good training even more important.
Accidents involving staff will always have an emotional impact on those around them. Think of the implications of knowing an accident had happened on your farm and how your workers will feel afterwards, not to mention the family of the person involved.
We’ve been looking at some of the best safety tips that could help you prevent accidents on your farm this summer:
- Never assume you’re safe just because you’re experienced.
- If you have electricity power lines on your land, be aware that in the summer months, they could drop by around half a metre. So don’t assume that because vehicles can drive underneath safely in the winter they can do the same in the summer. Always check.
- When you’re not using farm vehicles, always put the handbrake on and turn off the engine - even if you’re only leaving it for a couple of minutes. This will prevent the vehicle rolling when there’s no-one at the controls.
- Designate areas for pedestrians and areas for vehicles around the farm buildings to minimise the risk of vehicles hitting people.
- Wear hi-viz clothing, especially at dusk and at night.
- Display clear safety signage to warn people of potential dangers.