The increase in transport activity over the summer traditionally brings an increase in fatal and serious accidents, many of which could be avoided at little or no cost. Parking brakes on tractors are crucial, but recent research suggests about one in eight are defective. They are easy to check and generally simple to adjust - do it now before you get too busy with harvest! Consult the operators manual, but in general make sure that the brake fully engages with about 30-40kg force around two thirds of the lever travel and that the ratchet mechanism works effectively - it should be able to hold the tractor on an 18% (1 in 5.5) slope.
Following the safe stop procedure is the most important, and cheapest, safety action of all: 1) Handbrake on; 2) Controls neutral; and, 3) Stop engine (remove key if necessary).
Transport safety is also the focus of the next in HSE's series 'Academy' articles being published in Farmers Weekly. This will be available in the 2 May edition of Farmers Weekly and on their website.