Up to 50% of fatalities in agriculture involve a farm vehicle or machinery. Serena Gibbons, Teagasc Education Officer Athenry talks through some top tips to staying safe and making our farms safer when it comes to working with tractors
Regardless of the enterprise of the scale of the farm, there is a tractor on almost every farm. Unfortunately up to 50% of fatalities in Agriculture involve a Tractors or Farm Vehicles. This is clearly an area where improvements must be made. Make It a priority to address tractor safety on your farm this winter. Take a few minutes to carry out a quick tractor safety check before you start your work. Check for oil leaks, Tyre pressure , safety covers and any Visible defects.
A large number of fatal accidents have occurred as result of a faulty or poorly applied handbrake, a common cause of fatalities is where a farmer gets down from a tractor to open a gate and while opening the gate the tractor rolls forward causing a serious or fatal crush. Handbrakes need be checked regularly. A simple handbrake test is to apply handbrake and put tractor into gear and attempt to move forward, if the handbrake is working the engine should labour. Always enter and dismount the tractor correctly ensuring you always have three points of contact. Be mindful of the blind spots around your tractor.
Modern tractors can be larger and visibility can be poor. Always ensure windows are clean and mirrors are correctly adjusted so that optimal chance of seeing potential danger. Headlights/taillights and flashing amber beacon should be operational. Before carrying out work with tractors and machinery it is important to plan the work.
Ensure you have the appropriate machinery for the task, bearing in mind that new machines may have an increased requirement for tractor power and weight. For example, a trailing shoe or dribble bar attachment to a exiting vacuum tanker may destabilise the tanker. Travel at an appropriate speed. Don’t overload trailer or machines. Never use a mobile phone as you are responsible for a large powerful machine and full concentration is required. Children under 7 are not permitted on tractors. Passengers should only travel on a tractor cab where appropriate seat and seatbelt is provided. Don’t take chances - Make Tractor safety a priority.
Find out more information about staying safe on the farm here: Farm Health & Safety