Nigel Lyons, a Regulatory Partner from Browne Jacobson LLP, specialises in all types of farm related safety. He tells us about some of the risks farmers and farm visitors should consider during the summer months.
"The farm is such a busy place that there are lots of hazards to be alert to in the warm summer weather. These include...
Tractors & Machinery
Watch out for tractors and machinery. Tractors, by their sheer size, mean that any collision with a person is likely to result in serious injury or death. Please remember that children must not ride on farm machinery until they are at least 13 years of age. Likewise farm machinery and gates can form trapping hazards.
This time of year there are combine harvesters and supporting tractors with trailers on the move. These can be heavily laden with grain or stacked with bales. It is important that those driving the machines check their wing mirrors carefully when manoeuvring. If you are on foot in the countryside then you should avoid going behind such large machinery as there is the risk that the driver will not be able to see you. Farm machinery is by its very nature noisy and you may not be heard even if you shout.
Farmers should ensure that grain stores are, as far as possible, kept secure. If you are in the countryside with family members or young children it is important that they never go into or onto a grain store as they could sink into the grain and like a slurry lagoon sadly this can cause drowning.
Also in the summer there will be stacks of bales drying. These should not be seen as places where you could go to shelter or seen as good places for children to play on. They are potentially dangerous. Some can roll or topple over and of course, as the land may be tinder dry, there could be a fire with the risk of serious injury from burning.
As was seen at a recent trial in Nottingham, where a farmer was facing prosecution for manslaughter after one of his bulls killed a rambler, farm animals (cattle, sheep, pigs and goats) can cause serious injury where frightened or if acting protectively towards their young. Be alert around such livestock. If you are out with family you must also remind children that animals should of course not be teased.
Because of the need to protect crops with spraying prior to harvesting this means that chemicals are more often stored on farm land. It is very important that such chemicals are kept securely locked away when not in use. If you are walking in the countryside it is important that any bottles, boxes or bags found that have a hazardous chemical designation, should not be touched as they could make you very ill.
Respect the countryside
The countryside is a lovely place to live, work and play in but we all have to have respect for the potential dangers and hazards that can be found there.
Let’s hope the sun shines this summer and we have a great, and safe, harvest."
By Nigel Lyons, Regulatory Partner at Browne Jacobson LLP