A checklist similar to that used by airline pilots has been developed to help farmers get a better grip of farm safety.
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen said farmers should adopt the process used by pilots and carry out a number of key checks prior to operation.
One example is a tractor situation awareness checklist which includes checks on the environment, personal, a status check, tractor performance and safety check.
Farmers are asked to consider their well-being including stress and fatigue level, as well as practical measures such as ground conditions, PTO guard and safety chains and the location of other vehicles, people and animals and power lines.
University of Aberdeen psychologist Dr Amy Irwin said: “In aviation and a lot of other high-risk industries they have training for all of these skills.
“Farming has nothing and we are looking to change that.
“The idea is to get farmers thinking about their own safety in a way they perhaps have not before - thinking about safety, discussing it with others, and making some changes won’t cost farmers anything but time and could save a life.”
The idea was stemmed after five years spent with farmers, finding out about their day-to-day work and any problems that might arise.
The research was turned into a ‘pocket guide’ for farmers which they can tailor to make it specific to them and their farm.
“Despite the high fatality rate, a rate that has not altered by much in the past 10 years, there is very little support for farmers in terms of developing their safety critical non-technical skills as a method of improving safety,” Dr Irwin said.
“An important element of this is also checking yourself, checking how stressed you are, how fatigued or tired you are feeling and how that might influence your safety operating this heavy machine.”
More than 1,000 copies of the handbook have been sent out free of charge to farmers in the UK, the US and New Zealand.