With Farm Safety Week set to take centre stage across the island this week, we are bringing you a new series, which will take the format of a special topic daily.
In the first segment of the series, we focus on the safety surrounding the operation of a tractor.
Fatalities associated with the operation of machinery particularly tractors have soared in recent years, as farms continue to be highly mechanised.
As revealed by the Health and Safety Authority Ireland, 270 incidents involving tractors, machinery and equipment cause serious injury each year.
Machinery also accounts for a worrying 19% of farm-related deaths, with the breakdown as follows, as sourced from the H.S.A.
- Crushed by machine part (38%);
- Struck by part of machine (35%);
- Entanglement in rotating part of machine, for example, Power Take Off or PTO (11%);
- Caught in machine mechanism (11%);
- Fall from machine (5%)
Care should be taken in order to maximise safety on the farm and minimise hazards.
- Be familiar with the content of the operation manual.
- Always review the working ability of the tractor before operation. See a full list of essential tractor checks here.
- Ensure tractor is in full-working order and is repaired as soon as possible when necessary. Do not operate the tractor until it is safe to do so.
- Only experienced and knowledgeable drivers should operate the tractor.
- Wear suitable clothing to avoid P.T.O. entanglement.
- Always carry a mobile phone with you.
- Allow adequate time to complete a task.
- Seek assistance if you do have the ability to complete the task yourself. Do not take any risks or undertake any action that may put you at risk.
- Cover unguarded moving parts.
- The P.T.O shield should be kept in place at all times.
- Ensure the cab floor is already kept clear.
- Beware of overhead lines.
- Drive at a controllable speed always.
- Be alert at all times. Do not operate the tractor if you are tired.
- Stop and rest when neccessary.
- Ensure you are not distracted by the radio or phone.
- Wear hearing protection. Always close the tractor cab doors and windows to reduce noise levels.
- Be vigilant at all times.
- Be mindful of children and become informed of the legislation surrounding children as both tractor drivers and passengers.
- When carrying passengers, ensure a high-standard seat is fitted.
- Ensure hydraulics are functioning correctly.
- When operating the tractor, always look ahead for obstacles.
- When not being operated, park the tractor safely.
- Implement the H.S.A.'s 'SAFE STOP' procedure.
- Bring it to a Stop at a safe place.
- Apply the Handbrake
- Lower Implements
- Engine Off
- Remove Key- Only Now Dismount.