After accidents took the lives of three farmers last week, take time and think about the safety arrangements on your farm.
The recent loss of life involved a tractor, a quad and livestock. At a time when farmers can be swamped with spring jobs and rushing to get things done, here are some steps that will reduce the risk of similar accidents on your farm.
The keys to prevention are training, good maintenance and safe work practices, according to the HSA.
How Often Do You Look At Your Tractor For The Following Checks?
- Cab/Roll bar in good condition.
- U guard is in place on the tractor to cover the PTO stub.
- All controls in working order and clearly marked/ understood.
- Tractor brakes in good working order and adequate for the work.
- Handbrake fully operational.
- Mirrors, lights, indicators and wipers functioning, clean and visible.
- All hitching equipment free of defects.
- All visible defects identified and rectified
Take time to familarise yourself with the HSA’s 5 minute tractor safety check
Wear a helmet
Quads are really easy to drive and they can feel like toys, but they are not, as several fatal farm accidents have illustrated. Always wear a safety helmet, slow down on rough terrain and make sure new users take time to practice in a safe area.
Always inform someone of your whereabouts if you’re going to the calving shed alone. Separate the calf from the cow for naval dipping and tagging. Always keep an eye on a freshly calved cow on the way out and carry a stick to keep her in check if she becomes aggressive. If tension rises, don’t take any chances, find an exit.
Feel like you have too much on your hands? Reach out for help. It may be too late to organise formal labour for the busy spring season, but family members, neighbours and friends, agricultural students, part-time labourers or relief milkers might be available. Remember, working day and night with no relief increases your chances of having an accident.
On a busy day, it is easy to skip lunch. Don’t, it will only add to fatigue and increase the risk of accidents.
Turn the lights on
The evenings maybe getting longer but what if a cow starts calving at 3am? If you didn’t have a chance to fit proper lighting ahead of the spring, place temporary battery-powered lights along the route of night-time jobs and take care to make sure dangerous tools and machinery are out of the way at the end of your day.