Think safety as harvest approaches

The winter barley and oilseed rape harvests are fast approaching, but all involved should slow down ahead of the busy weeks, take stock and make changes now that could prevent an accident later on.

Harvest is a particularly busy time and can be stressful as farmers and contractors come under pressure from the weather.

Ahead of this time preparations can be made to allow things to run more smoothly. Many farmers will already have tackled machinery maintenance and this is essential. Simple jobs like checking hydraulic hoses or fittings on machinery can help to avoid stoppages during the season.

Ensuring combines are ready to go can help to prevent a breakdown and doing jobs now while time is more plentiful reduces pressure at harvest time. Breakdowns will inevitably happen so having some common spare parts to hand will help if this occurs.

It is important to ensure that the fire extinguishers are serviced on all machinery and are in a safe place that is easily accessible.

Take time out to check on trailer tyres, brakes, lights, hydraulics, break-away chains and safety features such as signage and reflectors.

Being stocked up on essentials is also important. Having stock in ahead of when it’s needed like net wrap, grease, oil and ensuring diesel tanks are full can reduce pressure when the busy season kicks in. Ensure necessary tools are in tractors and combines.


Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a necessity. Stock up on gloves, masks, bump hats and high-visibility jackets. Ensure you have a good pair of safety boots.

Sun cream is an essential item to stock up on and should be applied regularly throughout the day.


This season farmers also need to be extra cautious with the threat of Covid-19. Hand sanitiser and cleaning products should be in all tractors and combines and used throughout the day. Machinery should be cleaned between different users or else people should avoid sharing vehicles where possible.