Making your farmyard safer: Machinery management tips

Christmas can be a hectic time of the year on an Irish farmyard – particularly with children off from school on their Christmas holidays. As a result, Teagasc has issued some key advice for farmers to make their yards a safer place this year.

Francis Bligh, Teagasc health and safety specialist, outlined some important tips and advice on the topics of farm machinery, moving bales and road safety

Check out his advice on child supervision, lighting and farm animals here.

Machinery

Starting with machinery, Bligh said: “Recent cold weather has tested starter motors and batteries on tractors and farm vehicles.

“If they are performing poorly it is very important to replace or repair them. Roll or pull starting tractors on frosty mornings is a very high risk activity.

Beware of handbrakes that are not working properly. Health and Safety Authority (HSA) data shows 54% of deaths with tractors and farm vehicles have been as a result of a crush injury.

Turning to the safe removal of bales from a bale stack or shed, the specialist said:

“Removing bales from a stack or shed requires great care to avoid injury. Remove the bales from the upper row first.

“Removing bales from the bottom or middle of the stack can lead to dislodgement and a risk of being injured by a falling bale.”

Road safety

Finally, on road safety, Bligh said: “Drivers of agricultural machines should drive with caution and make sure loads are secure.

It is important to increase visibility by using lights and beacons, especially during inclement weather or when light is low, such as early mornings and evenings.

“Avoid busy roads whenever possible. Try to keep windows washed and clean,” Bligh concluded.