Reducing risk at harvest time

It’s been a worrying year for agricultural accidents, with Farmers’ Weekly reporting a shock rise in the number of UK fatalities in just one month.

During February 2017, there were ten deaths on farms, compared with a more usual average of around three deaths per month. One of those killed was a 20-year-old woman who died from multiple injuries after becoming entangled in machinery while volunteering at a farm in Devon.

The trend has been just as alarming in Ireland, where 12 deaths occurred in the first five months of 2017 – double the amount recorded during the previous year. Accidents involving tractors and quads accounted for eight of these fatalities, leading to calls for farmers to prioritise safety to avoid future tragedies.

As harvest time approaches, arable farmers should be particularly conscious of the need to assess and address work-related dangers. With many farmers hiring in tractors and combines, it’s crucial to ensure that any vehicles and machinery are fitted with up-to-date safety equipment and that drivers are expertly trained in the vehicles’ use.

Blind spots are a problem for agricultural vehicles just as for HGVs. Operator visibility is frequently impaired, even in modern machinery which has been designed to offer maximum efficiency in order to increase yield and productivity.

But if a serious accident occurs, any productivity gains could be lost, with farmers facing insurance claims and even prosecution and hefty financial penalties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

How can Brigade help improve safety in the agricultural industry? Our state-of-the-art camera systems, radar obstacle detection, reversing and warning alarms and mobile digital recorders have helped to transform farming safety for customers all over the world. For example, Brigade’s Backeye®360 camera monitor systems use four cameras to create one bird’s-eye image of the area surrounding an agricultural vehicle. Drivers can monitor the camera picture in real time, helping them with manoeuvres without having to check multiple mirrors.

It’s a superb product for use not just when machines are being driven on farmland, but also when they’re out on public roads.

Discover more about agricultural vehicle safety on our website here. And if you’d like to discuss any of our services or vehicle safety products, please get in touch with our team.