Farm machinery is involved
in many serious accidents every year. Any machinery that you use on
the farm must, by law, be suitable for the task in hand, be
maintained in a safe condition with any dangerous parts properly
safeguarded, and be operated correctly and by adequately trained
persons. Equipment must be stable, and stop controls, including
emergency stops, must be provided.
When purchasing any equipment or
machinery, care must be taken to ensure that it is safe and
suitable for its intended use. Ensure that your supplier informs
you of any associated health and safety risks. Any new equipment
must come with a Declaration of Conformity and user instructions in
English, and be CE marked. Note, however, that a CE marking is only
a claim by the manufacturer that it has met its legal safety
obligations. It is your responsibility to check that it is actually
safe to use on your farm.
On taking delivery of machinery, you
should test it thoroughly before allowing anyone to use it. Check
first for any obvious dangers, such as exposed gears, blades or
other moving parts. Guards must be securely attached to prevent
access to all dangerous parts of the machine. Check for excessive
noise, vibration or emissions, with particular reference to how
these may affect the operator and anyone nearby. Any parts
requiring maintenance must be safely accessible. You should also
ensure that all controls are clearly marked and that you fully
understand their operation and the manufacturer's instructions.
If you consider the machinery unsafe,
do not use it or allow anyone else to use it. Contact your supplier
to arrange for any problems to be put right, or to return the
Safe use of machinery
Ensure that employees are trained in
the use of any machinery that they operate and that they use it
according to the manufacturer's instructions and only for the
purposes for which it was designed.
Always turn machinery off if it is to
be left unattended for any period, however brief. Never leave it
running unsupervised. Pressurised equipment such as boilers,
compressors and slurry tankers may burst open violently unless
safety valves are fitted to relieve excess pressure. Be aware of
safe working pressures and temperatures for equipment.
Power take-offs (PTO) and PTO drive
shafts are very dangerous if they do not have well-designed,
properly fitted and properly maintained guards. Guards should be
checked daily for wear and damage, as a damaged or poorly fitting
guard can be as dangerous as having no guard at all. A shield
should cover the top and both sides of the PTO to prevent anyone
making contact with it. Drive shafts should be enclosed along their
full length from the tractor to the first bearing on the machine.
The guard's size should take into account the shaft's vertical and
lateral movements during work.
Before attempting any maintenance work,
whether it is routine maintenance or the clearing of blockages etc,
make sure that the machine is switched off, isolated from its power
source and safe to work on. Vehicles should have their brakes
applied and wheels chocked. Areas around the machinery you are
working on should be clear and free from obstructions. Always wear
appropriate protective clothing.
Inspect all machinery regularly for
signs of wear and tear, and to make sure that it has been properly
set up and that no safeguards have been removed. Be aware of each
piece of equipment's specific maintenance needs and keep an
inspection record. Only carry out maintenance and repairs yourself
if they are within your capabilities and you have the necessary
tools and facilities. If in doubt, seek specialist advice.
When attempting to clear blockages from
machinery, be sure that all movement has stopped before removing
any guards. Stored energy, from compressed materials, springs or
hydraulics, must be released before you start work.
Take a look at our Staying safe around
Staying safe around telehandlers
Cornish Mutual's video for staying safe around telehandlers, as part of our FarmSafe initiative.
No second chances: A farm machinery safety step-by-step guide
(Health and Safety Executive)
Safety focus on: Farm machinery (National Farmers' Union)
Buying new machinery (HSE)
Power take-offs and power take-off drive shafts (HSE)