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HomeFarming NewsReducing the risk of accidents this silage season
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Reducing the risk of accidents this silage season

Machinery Safety Advice 

Accidents tend to happen when people work too long, push machinery too hard or take risks to get crops in before the weather turns.

That is the primary message, Andy Manson, managing director of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd, is conveying to farmers and agricultural contractors ahead of silage season.

Manson explained that ensuring machinery is “fit for the job” makes harvesting go “smoothly” and reduces the risk of accidents.

He highlighted that it is particularly important to check tyres, brakes, and couplings of silage trailers, which you may not have used for months before “suddenly pressing them into action”.

The rural insure has issued the following guidance in respect of machinery maintenance, working in fields and employee and child safety.

Working in fields

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  • Carry out all recommended maintenance on schedule;
  • Regularly check moving parts of mowers, tedders, forage harvesters and balers, including guards and PTO shafts for damage or wear;
  • Take special care to check for following vehicles before turning right into fields or yards. This is a common cause of accidents;
  • Switch off engines and ensure parts have stopped before clearing blockages or carrying out maintenance. Furthermore, remove all keys as well to prevent accidental starting;
  • Carry a mobile phone with you at all times in your pocket. Do not leave in a tractor or pick-up cab;
  • Take regular breaks to eat, drink and rest.
Tractor operators and children
  • Implement a system for keeping in contact with lone workers;
  • Also, ensure you property induct and train for the work you give them, particular, the dangers of working around farm machinery;
  • Ensure operators are aware of the locations and heights of overhead power lines and check that machinery will safely pass under wires and restrictions;
  • Ensure trailers are road legal with fully maintained and working brakes, lights, indicators and flashing beacons;
  • Implement measures to ensure you keep children away from working areas.
Silage clamps
  • You should never overfill a silage clamp. This increases a vehicle’s risk of overturning when rolling or filling;
  • For indoor clamps, keep away for the first 72 hours. This is when dangerous nitrogen dioxide gas can form in large quantities;
  • If possible, use a hook or a pole to keep away from the edge of the face when unsheeting or removing tyres.

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