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Farm safety – too serious to ignore

As the injury and fatality count continues to cause deep concern across the agricultural sector, farmers are being warned of the dangers of not securing trailer loads properly.

The biggest issue at this time of the year is carting bales and ensuring that the trailer loads of large bales are secured properly.

Police in East Anglia have reported ‘shocking’ scenarios on the region’s roads as contractors and farmers rush to get the bales from field to store in the last days of harvest.

A tweet from the Norfolk and Suffolk road policing team said: ‘There have been some shocking stops on vehicle loads. There should be more than just gravity holding loads onto vehicles.’

Speaking to the Farmers Weekly, Jill Hewitt, CEO of the National Association of Agricultural Contractor said: ‘The load must be sufficiently secure in case of emergency stop or other unexpected hazard, and must not cause a danger or nuisance to others by the load falling or being blown from the vehicle.

‘In an industry with a poor safety record, we must not take risks with heavy bales that can, and do, cause serious injury or worse if they fall on a passing vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian.

‘If you find yourself by the roadside with a police car, you are likely to be looking at a telling off, fine and penalty points, but if you find yourself parked next to an ambulance, not only will you be desperately wishing you had secured the load, you will be facing potential charges of dangerous driving or worse.’

The Health and Safety Executive issued the following directive:

Securing a load for transport is normally achieved through a combination of:

Vehicle structure
Stanchions, bulkheads, fold-up sides
Blocking, dunnage, chocks, cradles
Lashings such as straps, webbing or chains
Friction matting.

The load-securing system must be capable of restraining a force equivalent to:

Entire weight of load forward (100%)
Half of the weight of the load to the side (50%)
Half of the weight of the load to the rear (50%)
Heavy plant equipment is best secured with direct lashing – one end onto the equipment, the other end onto the trailer. There will usually be four lashings, and they should pull in opposing directions.

For advice and discussion on farm safety and best practice, tune into #FarmSafetyHour every Thursday evening at 7:30 on Twitter. Here, the agricultural community comes together for an hour of chat about issues of safety on the farm.

Pic credit: Photo by Zeynep Sümeron Unsplash