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HSE Agriculture e-Bulletin September 2015

Welcome to the HSE Agriculture e-Bulletin

The school summer holidays are an ideal time to remind farmers that the farm is a dangerous place for children to play and that most children who are killed in farm incidents are family members.
With harvest underway we have included some advice when dealing with blockages in machines, baling on slopes and safe stacking of bales.  

Our next edition will be during the winter months when we will focus on machinery and building maintenance around the farm.  


Helping children understand that the farm is first and foremost a workplace and not a playground, goes a long way to protecting them, but you need to think that way as well.

Children, including farmer's children, must be supervised when on or around the farm yard. You cannot supervise children and work at the same time. You will inevitably be distracted by work and the child will get bored and slip away into areas of danger. 

Remember the law says that no child under 13 may drive or ride on tractors or any other self-propelled farm machinery even if a passenger seat is provided.

You wouldn't want your child to play in a factory near to machinery and moving vehicles, so think the same way about the farm and don't let the next child death on a farm be yours.

Farm tragedies can be avoided with a few simple precautions to keep children safe.

Stack your bales safely

Farmers are reminded of the dangers created by falling bales and the need to build safe stacks. All large round and square bales are heavy and if stacked incorrectly can cause death or serious injury should they fall. Bale stacking is a skill that has to be learned and demands care and attention.

There have also been many serious incidents caused by runaway round bales. Before you or your contractor starts baling on slopes, plan how the field can be baled safely to reduce the risks.

Follow the good practice guidelines on safe working with bales in agriculture and safe use of big round balers.

Safe transport during harvest time

As the harvest season gets underway make sure your tractors, trailers and other farm machines are properly maintained and used safely. 
Before starting work always check:

The Farm Vehicle Health Check Scheme can also help you manage your vehicle and machinery maintenance. It provides a structured checklist for essential items and can be used to record what checks have been made.  There is also information on how to check brakes are effective. 

Further guidance is available on farm vehicles and using tractors safely.

Dealing with machine blockages or other problems

When dealing with a blockage or other problem with a machine such as a combine harvester, always follow the Safe Stop procedure before carrying out any intervention. You should also follow the instructions in the operator's manual for dealing with blockages or other problems and don't be tempted to take short cuts. Allow sufficient run down time before removing guards or approaching dangerous parts and always use the right tools for the job. 

Remember, machine components may suddenly move when a blockage is cleared.  When the job is finished, always replace the guards before running the machine, and check that everyone is well clear before starting.

Follow the topic pages on using machines safely and guidance on working safely with agriculture machinery.

Grain bin? - Don't go in!

Entry into a storage bin or silo containing grain (or similar free-flowing material) can expose you to a serious risk of suffocation leading to death. Many farm workers have been engulfed by grain inside the bin by standing on moving grain as the bin is emptied below. Moving grain acts like "quicksand" pulling the person down leading to burial and suffocation within seconds.

So if you have a problem in your bin, stop and think before you go in. Consider if the work can be done without entering the bin. If entry is required always practice safe stop before entering and follow the guidance on working in confined spaces on farms.

Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs)

This year's SHAD programme has now reached the final planning stages. As soon as the programme has been finalised details will be posted on our SHAD diary pages. SHADs offer an opportunity for selected 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.

We design these events especially for self-employed farmer, or those employing up to four people. Independent research has shown that 99% of farmers that attended said that they would recommend them to other farmers.

If you receive an invitation then please treat it as a positive opportunity and email.

Why not take a look at our short film to listen to the views of some farmers who have attended an event Farmers' views video


Grandfathers Rights for Pesticide Users - Changes to Current Rules
A current exemption in UK law, commonly known as "grandfather rights", had allowed anyone born before 31 December 1964, to use a plant protection products (PPPs ) authorised for professional use on their own or their employer's land, without having to hold a certificate (of competence). 

After 26 November 2015 everyone who uses a PPP for professional use must have a certificate.

In addition, after 26 November 2015, it will be an offence for anyone to purchase PPPs authorised for professional use unless they have ensured that the intended end user has a certificate.

If you don't already have a certificate, you will need to get one by 26 November 2015 so that you can continue to use PPPs as part of your job after that date.

Further details on the changes and The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012

Government agrees high level principles for rodenticides stewardship regimes
A cross-government 'Oversight Group' has agreed a set of high-level principles to assist industry in developing stewardship regimes to control the use of rodenticides.  

Transport and animals are the biggest killers in agriculture
The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) latest fatality statistics show incidents involving moving vehicles and cattle are the biggest causes of death on Britain's farms.  

Other News

Cutting Red Tape - Government wants you to tell them which regulatory issues hamper your business!

The Government have launched the Cutting Red Tape Programme.

Cutting Red Tape aims to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. It intends to shine a light on out of date legislation and confusing implementation of it, such as unhelpful government guidance or needlessly complex inspection regimes, to ensure they make sense. It builds on the successes of Red Tape Challenge and Business/Focus on Enforcement.

The Cutting Red Tape website can be found at:    

For Agriculture:
You can get involved by:

New guidance

Revised COSHH essentials e-tool

A new and improved COSHH e-tool has been launched. The e-tool can be found at the new COSHH essentials portal including some direct advice sheets on farming on exposure to agricultural dusts and to protect workers health.

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