The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has announced an eight-month-long programme of workplace-based transport inspections on farms across Northern Ireland.
The safety watchdog is undertaking the work in what it has described as “a determined” effort to reduce the number of fatal incidents on farms involving vehicles, which over the last decade, has claimed the lives of 17 people.
The inspections programme will begin this month and continue until March 2024.
Incidents involving vehicles and equipment remain one the biggest causes of death and serious injury on local farms.
Between 2013 and December 2022 there have been 53 fatalities on farms, 17 incidents involved vehicles, in Northern Ireland.
HSENI Inspectors will be providing information and advice during the inspection campaign. Where significant risks are found Inspectors may take enforcement action to achieve compliance with health and safety legislation to ensure that the risks are properly managed.
Typical items which will be addressed during inspections will include, but are not limited to:
- Is there a single entrance to the farmyard and dwelling house?
- How are vehicle/pedestrians managed during busy periods?
- Are there young children on the farm, do they have a designated safe play area?
- Are there visibility aids used around the farmyard such as convex/concave mirrors?
- Is there sufficient lighting in the farmyard?
- Are there older farmers on the farm, is their safety considered in relation to vehicle movements, slower reflexes, eyesight/hearing problems?
- Are roadway surfaces well maintained and clear from obstructions?
- Are slats on underground tanks checked to ensure stability for vehicles driving over them?
- Are all your farm vehicles adequately maintained by a competent person?
- Are all mirrors, lights, window wipers and reversing cameras in place and in good condition?
- Are all brakes working correctly on all vehicles?
- Do all tractors and other farm vehicles have roll over protection structures in place and are they fit for purpose?
- Have statutory examinations been completed for relevant vehicles/equipment used for lifting? e.g., telescopic handlers, man baskets
- Are seat belts available and used where appropriate?
- Does the farmer including any other person working on the farm (i.e., family members, employees, and contractors) hold adequate licenses/training certificates for the vehicles they are authorised to drive?
- Are all drivers on site aware of others who may be working or living on the premises and are they notified to look out for those people? i.e., vulnerable person’s such as older families’ members and young children?
- Are drivers’ aware children must not be carried on any agricultural vehicles until they are aged thirteen or over?
- Is the farmer aware of the legislation surrounding children driving agricultural vehicles? i.e., what age, training, types of vehicles, jobs they are capable of doing etc?
- Are there adequate emergency procedures in place in the event that an incident occurs? For example, if lone working do drivers carry a mobile phone, use what three words etc, use check in procedures with family members?
- Is there a mobile phone policy for drivers?