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HSE Agriculture e-Bulletin October 2014

Welcome to the HSE Agriculture e-Bulletin

As autumn shifts field work to cultivation and stock come in for winter housing, there is a lot more transport and machinery activity around the farm.

In this edition, we cover transport and machinery, the launch of a newly formed Scottish Farm Safety Partnership and an update on farming Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs).

Now is also the time to be planning for any winter building maintenance. In the next edition we will be looking at roof work and working at heights. 

Livestock farmers to take care with mechanised feeding and bedding

By late autumn, nearly all dairy cows and many beef cattle are housed indoors. Whatever your bedding arrangements are, be it cubicles, straw yards or pens. The need to provide feed and fresh bedding and the removal of slurry and manure brings about a rise in machinery and transport activity around farm buildings.  

Feeder wagons, diet mixers and straw choppers are used daily, and the telehandler or front-end loader becomes an essential tool for moving materials such as silage, straw and hay bales.  

With cattle heading indoors, farmers and workers are advised to plan ahead and work safely.

Take care when harvesting root crops this autumn

With the potato harvest and sugar beet campaign in full swing farmers are reminded to check the guarding on their harvesting and grading machines. Machines should never be run with the guards missing or defective.

Dangerous parts of machines, such as haulm and cleaning rollers, power take-off shafts and drive belts should be guarded to prevent serious injuries.

Conditions can sometimes cause blockages or other problems to occur, so make sure workers know and follow the safe stop procedure before making any adjustments on a machine. 

Always use a safe system of work, especially when harvesting near overhead power lines.

Further guidance on safe use of potato harvesters  and  working safely near overhead power lines.

Machinery maintenance 

If you are planning machinery maintenance before your baler, harvester or cultivator is put away at the end of the season then remember maintenance work can also introduce new hazards and risks. Plan the task. Use a safe system of work and the right tools for the job. Make sure workers are trained and have the necessary information to hand eg workshop manuals.

Don’t be tempted to run the machine with the guards missing. One false step or Slip-up could end in serious injury or death. It’s simply not worth taking the risk.

Whatever machinery maintenance you carry out - always follow the safe stop procedure. It applies as much to maintenance work as any other activity.

Launch of Scotland farm safety partnership

A newly formed farm safety partnership was launched in Scotland at the Black Isle Show. Members included NFU for Scotland, NFU Mutual, Scottish Government, and HSE. 

The Farm Safety Partnership for Scotland will focus on four key areas: falls from height; livestock incidents; workplace transport; and machinery incidents. These four areas account for around 70% of the fatal injuries in Scotland. 

These key areas also feature in the leaflet "Don't leave it to FATE" (Falls, Animals, Transport and Equipment) and are as relevant to England and Wales as they are in Scotland. 

A fatal report collating fatal injuries in Scotland over the past 10 years is also available:

Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs)

This year’s programme of Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs) is well under way and we have recently added a number of events to our diary.

SHADs offer an opportunity for farmers and farm workers to gain free advice, from trained instructors on how to avoid the common causes of accidents and ill health on their farms.

If you are a family farmer, self employed, or employ up to four people then SHADs are designed for you.

Did you know that independent research also showed that 99% of farmers who have recently attended a SHAD would recommend them to other farmers? 

If you have received an invitation letter, we hope you are persuaded to attend so please book your place on the invite reply slip or by email.

To find out more, visit Agriculture SHADs.

Other News

Dr Richard Judge has been appointed chief executive of Britain’s workplace health and safety regulator. He will start at the Health and Safety Executive in November 2014.

A scheme designed to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses who break the law has proven effective and should stay, an independent report has concluded.

New guidance

Risk assessments - A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace

This new leaflet has revised and simplified the 5 Steps: INDG163 ' 'Risk assessment - A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace,' which clearly outlines what you need to do assess workplace risks without creating mountains of meaningless paperwork.

Regulation of health and safety at work

HSE has published a document titled Regulation of health and safety at work that explains the main features of the regulatory approach taken by HSE and local authorities to improve standards in health and safety performance. It includes the main regulatory intervention techniques used to influence, encourage and advise business and, where necessary, hold to account those who fail to meet their responsibilities.

Recent Prosecutions

The incidents listed below help to reinforce the importance of working safely whilst carrying out day to day jobs on the farm.

Working at Height

Two brothers have been fined for breaking safety legislation after a contractor suffered serious brain injuries in a fall while carrying out building work at one of their farms.

A salad grower was prosecuted after a worker suffered extensive injuries when she had to jump from a runaway mobile working platform at its nurseries.

A poultry firm and four of its contractors have been fined for repeated safety failings after workers were caught on a roof without taking proper safety precautions.

Preventing Falls Guidance


A mushroom farming business has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered crush injuries when his arm was caught in unguarded machinery.

A farmers’ co-operative has been sentenced after a worker was killed when the tailgate of a hydraulic trailer fell and struck him across the neck.

An arable farmer was taken to court after a worker suffered serious arm, head and back injuries while unblocking a grain drying machine.


A vegetable farmer has been prosecuted for safety failings after a mother of two was killed when she was run over by a reversing tractor trailer.

A manufacturer has been fined following the death of an employee who was crushed between a tractor and a fertiliser spreader at the firm’s plant.

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