The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture surrounds moving and overturning vehicles.
Between 2012 and 2016, 25 farmers were fatally injured by moving vehicles.
Initial reports show incidents often occur when farm vehicles overturn on slopes, including on/near banks, ditches, drains, ramps and uneven/flat ground.
When working with farm vehicles, farmers are encouraged to think of the Safe Stop routine to help prevent accidents and injuries.
Alan Plom, Rural Industries Group vice-chairman, said: “Although the ‘Safe Stop’ procedure is not a new concept and is already included widely in guidance, it is clear from the many deaths and injuries which have occurred that these simple precautions are often being ignored.
“Tractors and loaders have often moved and run over the driver who has dismounted. This is usually due to the handbrake not being applied or being defective due to lack of maintenance.
“We need to rejuvenate and spread the message and encourage operators to take these simple precautions as second nature.”
MARK MATHER, NORTHUMBERLAND
Although difficult, safety use for all vehicles should be properly risk-assessed. This even includes those which are often used for leisure.
Mark Mather, 31-year-old mixed farmer from Haugh Head, near Woolder, Northumberland, was keen to highlight the harsh reality of consequences after an accident on his quad bike left him without a leg.
He urged other farmers to ‘think twice before starting a job’.
He said: “My incident put safety awareness to the fore on our own farm and on surrounding farms, when friends and neighbours heard about it.”
When he was 24, and heavily involved on the family farm, he suffered a shotgun blast to the leg when his quad bike overturned while he was trying to shoot crows attacking his barley crop.
Mark was travelling with the double-barrelled shotgun across his lap.
It was loaded, but the safety catch was on. After a few shots in a first field, Mark decided to move on to the next. As he turned into the field, the battery powering the twitcher moved slightly and, as he leaned to secure it, the vehicle veered onto a slight bank and overturned.
It hit the butt of the shotgun which went off, firing both barrels into his right leg.
He said: “Dad visited me in hospital every day, so his work time was lost. He had to hire in help during the length of time I was unable to work. Because my injury was so severe, it means there are certain aspects of work I can no longer do.
"I have lost a lot of mobility and working with livestock is not possible. We have had to buy a specially adapted tractor which has been fitted with a left foot accelerator and I have a similarly adapted car and 4×4 vehicle.”
As with all lifting equipment, work with telehandlers should be properly planned and the risks assessed to ensure the work can be carried out safely.
TOP TIPS WHEN WORKING WITH TELEHANDLERS:
1. Travel with the boom lowered to make sure the machine’s centre of gravity and load are as low as possible.
2. Carefully choose routes to avoid overhead power lines, steep slopes/gradients and slippery surfaces.
3. Adopt the correct driving direction and travelling position.
4. Avoid turning/traversing on a slope or gradient; always descend down the gentlest gradient of a slope instead of driving diagonally across it.
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