October is busy for most farmers, and the statistics show it’s a month with high injury rates.
One of the main causes of incidents on farm is vehicles. Every year over half work-related farm deaths involve farm vehicles.
Working in and around vehicles is a critical risk in many industries, including agriculture. All farm workers need to pay attention to the critical risks on the farm – the things that could potentially cause serious harm or fatality. There may not be many but they should get the most attention. Once these risks are identified, you need to make good risk management practices a habit.
Safer Farms ambassador Richard Loe recently had a close call when he was knocked over by a heavy load which slipped off his tractor forks. Despite being very safety conscious he learned the hard way that to stay safe you need to do quick risk assessments of daily tasks every time.
Vehicle maintenance could play a big part in the event of an incident so look after vehicles, especially tyres and brakes.
Vehicle users should be proficient drivers who understand the vehicle’s limitations, especially on slopes or near waterways and tracks where edges are not well-defined or are unstable. After such a wet winter, many tracks will have changed so care needs to be taken in looking out for things such as potholes or hidden ditches.
Many farm vehicle incidents involve the vehicle rolling over which can be the result of the driver taking the vehicle somewhere inappropriate or losing concentration. Using the right vehicle for the job and terrain is important, as is ensuring helmets or seatbelts are worn as recommended by the manufacturer. Many tractor fatalities could have been prevented by the driver wearing the fitted seatbelt. It also pays to reassess the risks if you’re towing plant or equipment.
Stay within the manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of the weight being towed. Keep mounted equipment as low as possible and consider fitting a counterweight to the vehicle.
Bottom line, when you’re using a vehicle, start with the thought – ‘what could kill me and how do I avoid that?’.
Go to saferfarms.org.nz for more information.
Article supplied by WorkSafe