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HomeFarming NewsWhat can farmers do to keep contractors safe during silage?
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What can farmers do to keep contractors safe during silage?

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has compiled a list of questions for both contractors and farmers to ask during the silage season to ensure clarity between both parties on the necessary health and safety measures.

To support this, the FCI has also a list of necessary protocols to adhere to in order to limit the risk of COVID-19 contraction or spread.

What can contractors do to keep farmers healthy and safe?

The FCI advise that contractors make sure that any additional COVID-19 risks from their work that could affect the farmer, farm workers or other contractors on the farm are reasonably managed.

If a risk can’t be eliminated then it must be minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

What can farmers do to keep contractors healthy and safe?

Similarly, farmers must make sure:

  • That any risks from farm work are reasonably managed (eliminated or minimised) to protect the health and safety of contractors;
  • That risks from any previous work carried out on the farm (eg land drainage, levelling, spraying hazardous substances) are reasonably managed to protect the health and safety of contractors;
  • That farm buildings and any area where work is being carried out is safe for everyone including contractors;
  • That any risks from low overhead wires are made known to the contractor for the safety of operators.

How can farmers and contractors coordinate activities?

The association advise that farmers and contractors must work together to meet their overlapping duties every time a contractor comes on-farm.

Having an over the phone meeting before work starts can help farmers and contractors to reach a common understanding and establish clear roles, responsibilities and actions. It will also prevent any gaps in managing health and safety risks, according to the FCI.

Questions for contractor to ask farmer:

Have I:

 

Communicated with the farmer about where I or my team will be going/working?

 

Given the farmer the mobile phone number of the lead operator/contractor?

 

Made a back-up plan with the farmer if there’s no phone coverage?

 

Agreed with the farmer that there can be strictly no passengers or children in machine cabs?

 

Checked with the farmer if there are children on the farm and how are they to be cared?

 

Children under 7 are not legally allowed to be carried on a tractor or self-propelled vehicle

 

Discussed the following with the farmer:

  • What am I going to be doing?
  • What risks it poses to others? (including the farmer)
  • How I am going to manage and communicate those risks?
  • All gates to silage fields left open?
  • Traffic management plan in the yard agreed?

 

Been made aware of any relevant emergency procedures?

 

Agreed with the farmer on appropriate time in/time out reporting?

 

Agreed with the farmer on the issues of social distancing, machine hygiene & sharing?

 

Agreed with the farmer on silage pit covering responsibility and procedure?

 

Agreed on a food management strategy for the harvesting team while on the farm?

 

Also consider:

letting the farmer know about any changes in the work practice that may create additional risks to other persons (including the farmer) on-farm, for example, covering the Silage Pit

 

Questions for farmer to ask contractor:

Have I:

 

Checked where the contractor will be going/working?

 

Got their contact details a back-up plan with the contractor if there’s no phone coverage?

 

Told them about any expected or unexpected risks?

 

Told them about other work activity on the farm that could pose a risk to them?

 

Asked:

  • What they are going to be doing?
  • What risks that poses to others?
  • How we are going to manage and communicate those risks?

 

 

Told them about: farm rules (e.g. speed limits, alcohol) & their behaviour on-farm?

 

Told them about any relevant emergency procedures, Eircode Number/location?

 

Determined appropriate time in/time out reporting?

 

Agreed on a food management strategy for the harvesting team while on the farm?

 

Made a note of what I told them? (e.g. in the farm diary)

 

Also consider

  • Printing and marking-up a farm map to show hazards, especially ESB Networks overhead lines
  • Getting the contractor to phone before starting work
  • Helping them across rough/dangerous terrain using an appropriate vehicle

 

 

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