The FCI has outlined that farmers and their advisors will benefit from co-ordinating their work activities with their contractor at this busy time by having a short over-the-phone meeting before work starts.
This, according to the body, which represents farm and forestry contractors in Ireland, will help to reach a common understanding and establish clear roles, responsibilities and actions and will also prevent any gaps in managing health and safety risks.
Taking time to prepare the farm and the silage pit area in advance of the contractor’s arrival will allow the contractor to provide an “efficient and safe service”, according to FCI.
Moreover, it is important that farmers prepare for the arrival of the contractor by having field gates open and clear of obstructions.
A spokesperson for the body outlined: “As a courtesy, FCI advises farmers to let their non-farming neighbours know that silage harvesting is about to take place and prepare them for the fact that harvesting operations are fast and efficient while they can run late into the night.”
“Field access to and from public roads must be clear, and in some cases, hedges may need to be trimmed for road safety reasons.”
A simple traffic management plan will reduce risks around a busy yard where other suppliers may be sharing the yard space.
Farmers need to make sure that any risks from farm work are reasonably managed (eliminated or minimised) to protect the health and safety of contractors and their operators.
There may be new risks from any previous work carried out on the farm (e.g. land drainage, levelling, spraying of hazardous substances) that need to be managed.
It is important that farm buildings and any area where work is being carried out are safe for everyone and that any risks from low overhead wires are made known to the contractor.
The spokesperson continued: “It is important that farmers know that there can be strictly no passengers or children in machine cabs.”
“The contractor needs to check with the farmer if there are children on the farm and how are they to be cared for?”
“FCI reminds farmers and contractors that children under 7 are not legally allowed to be carried on a tractor or self-propelled vehicle,” the spokesperson concluded.