Employers must consider the legal regulations, workplace procedures, guidelines, and occupational advice regarding farm machinery safety.
Agricultural Machinery Safety – The Regulations
Farm owners must follow farm machinery safety regulations to ensure no accidents occur in their workplace, hazards are mitigated, and risks can be assessed properly to avoid unnecessary incidents. Maintaining agricultural machinery safety and following farm equipment safety tips is essential to the long-term health and safety of all employees working on a farm in the United Kingdom.
There are three legislative procedures that both manufacturers and suppliers need to be aware of to enhance farm machinery regulations:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
1. Health and Safety at Work Legislation 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974 established the baseline of duties and responsibilities that manufacturers and suppliers must uphold to keep their employees and members of the public safe and protected. Furthermore, this legislation covers the requirements employees have for themselves, other employees, and the employers on the worksite.
This piece of legislation helps manufacturers and suppliers recognize the must-follow farm equipment safety tips to identify risks, evaluate in-person procedures, take preventive measures, and utilize common sense in day-to-day practices.
2. Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
These farm machinery regulations apply to the machinery utilized on a farm from inside and outside the European Union. The regulations set forth by this act apply to lifting accessories, farm machinery equipment, interchangeable equipment, and safety components.
The requirements of these regulations make it an offense for a responsible person to supply faulty machinery or that does not comply with the safety standards. The person in charge of the manufacturing of the equipment or supplying the farms with the products must do the following:
- Declare the CE mark on the machine
- Perform a risk assessment during the design and construction of the machinery
- Adhere to the essential health and agricultural machinery safety requirements
- Identify all hazards possible with the use of machinery.
The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that the machinery placed on the market for consumption and purchase by farm owners and employers undergoes thorough manufacturing requirements and standards. By requiring manufacturers to show how their machinery is produced, tested, and operated, employers are more likely to purchase high-quality and reliable equipment.
3. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (Power)
These farm equipment safety tips and regulations apply to the machinery used in the workplace, requiring that each piece of machinery must adhere to the following:
- Suitable for the intended use and specific job
- Safe for use and contains little risk
- Maintained in a safe and consistent condition
- Used only by those who have the proper training to operate farm machinery
- Accompanied by agricultural machinery safety measures
The purpose of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations is to ensure the farm machinery equipment and tools are suitable for the intended use in the workplace. Instead of just being incorporating safety regulations, these statutes reduce the risk of a company using equipment that could pose a risk to someone’s health and safety.
Farm Machinery Safety Procedures
Farm machinery manufacturers and suppliers must adhere to regulations set forth by the law and follow the necessary farm equipment safety tips to avoid accidents, mitigate risks, and keep their employees safe.
1. Emissions From Non-Road Mobile Machinery
One of the main issues to focus on regarding farm owners and manufacturers is to reduce the emission from non-road mobile machinery, such as construction machinery, agricultural and farming machinery, railcars, and gardening equipment.
The prevalent problem includes emissions from combustion engines that can contribute to air pollution by emitting carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.
The procedures set forth for farm owners and manufacturers are to reduce the pollutants in the atmosphere and reduce the use of equipment that contains polluting engines. Manufacturers must listen to the agricultural equipment safety tips to reduce risk and unnecessary pollution.
To reduce the use of equipment with polluting engines and phase out the previously-popular farm machinery equipment, legislation must be put in place to create new laws regarding the approval process for equipment.
- The Regulation (EU) 2016/1628 outlined in September of 2016 created requirements on regulating pollutant emission limits and the approval process for internal combustion engines for non-road mobile machinery.
- Furthermore, the Commission Delegated Regulation in 2017 created requirements relating to emission limits and approval for non-road mobile machinery.
- The Commission Delegated Regulation of 2017/655 monitored the gaseous emission from internal combustion engines in non-road farm machinery equipment.
- The Commission Implementing Regulation in 2018 created administrative requirements regarding emission limits and approval for non-road mobile machinery.
Therefore, due to the new NRMM Regulation, procedures were set forth pertaining to engine manufacturers and approval of engines for use in the European market. The impact of the new regulations helped protect EU citizens, protect the environment, facilitate the functioning of the internal market, and reduce unfair competition.
2. Machinery Design, Manufacturing, and Purchase
Furthermore, the Health and Safety Executive has set forth guidelines and farm equipment safety tips regarding designing, manufacturing, and purchasing farm equipment in the United Kingdom. The European Machinery Directive was amended in 2006 to establish guidelines regarding the design, supply, and incorporation of machinery. By introducing safety standards and health requirements, the HSE can explain the purpose of risk assessment, introduce a control system, and provide safety standards.
2.1 Health and Safety Requirements
The first procedure ensures that the essential health and safety requirements set forth in 2008 are followed regarding reducing potential dangers to operators and employees in the nearby region. Manufacturers must adhere to the farm equipment safety tips set forth by the EHSRs, such as the following:
- Preliminary observations and safety integration
- Requirements for portable hand-held machinery and agri-foodstuffs machinery
- Requirements for mobility hazards
- Requirements for lifting hazards
- Requirement for underground working
- Requirements for moving and lifting people
2.2 Buying New Machinery
Furthermore, the HSE set forth a guideline and agricultural equipment safety tips for buying new machinery to avoid risks and accidents in the workplace. Farm owners must ensure they only purchase machinery that adheres to Supply of Machinery Safety Regulations, such as the following:
- The machinery is safe when supplied
- The machinery comes with a Declaration of Conformity
- The machinery contains the CE mark
In addition, manufacturers must make sure the machines they produce are safe for use in the workplace. They can do this safety check by performing the following:
- Providing operating instructions with the machinery
- Providing safeguards
- Using warning and hazard signs
- Assessing risks
- Analyzing the health and safety hazards
2.3 Buying Second-Hand Machinery
Lastly, the farm owner has the duty to make sure any second-hand machinery purchased adheres to the following:
- Safe to put in use
- Suitable for the work
- Maintained consistently
Employers must ensure that second-hand equipment for use in the workplace does not pose any risks to health when it is being cleaned, set up, used, or stored. In addition, those in charge of the employees’ safety in the workplace must provide enough information, education, and training to the employees so they can safely use and maintain the equipment.
For equipment that was supplied within the last 20 years, the employer must ensure the equipment is in the same condition in regards to its safety and effectiveness as when it was first placed on the market. The second-hand machinery must be fully functional, safe, and work correctly.
Farm Machinery Safety Precautions
Farm owners and manufacturers must take precautions to reduce workplace injuries and increase employee safeguarding policies. Machinery accidents can be caused by a range of incidents, such as failing to use ‘safe stop’ procedures, lacking proper training, using a non-functional machine, and failing to follow the safety rules of work.
Employers can reduce hazardous areas on agricultural machines and introduce control measures by looking at the following precautions:
- Fixed guards must be only in one place to reduce entanglement and crossing.
- The guard should reduce the likelihood of any body part crossing into the danger zone.
- Older machines should be upgraded with the same practices as newer models.
- Guards must be established before using a machine.
2. Lifting Equipment
- Lifting equipment should be analyzed and inspected before use.
- The safe working load must be indicated on the equipment.
- Users must never exceed the safe working load.
- Equipment must be maintained and re-examined every six months.
- Lifting equipment must be tested by a knowledgeable employee before use.
3. Machinery Maintenance
- Safety devices and guards must be ready and in place before beginning.
- The equipment must be correctly attached to the vehicle or tractor.
- Employees and users must take the indicated position to avoid crush injuries.
- Stop the machine before carrying out maintenance or necessary repairs.
- The machine must be supported before any employees begin working underneath.
- Doors must be high and wide enough to accommodate modern farm machinery equipment.
- Keep the floors dry at all times.
- Use fireproof materials
- Clean any spills or wet spots
- Organize the workshop to avoid confusion and risk
- Only use the correct disc with an angle grinder.
- Train your employees how to use welding tools
5. Machinery Checks
- Repair and analyze all hoses and hydraulic systems
- Perform regular maintenance
- Correct machinery defects
Managers and farm owners must follow these guidelines to reduce risks in the workplace and avoid employee injuries. Since farm owners are responsible for health and safety for those in their job site, guidelines must be followed to mitigate risk, prevent harm, and create a safe workplace.
Creating a risk assessment is one of the first steps that employers and managers must consider when it comes to setting forth workplace guidelines. This assessment can help identify measures to control risks in the workplace and harmful accidents and implement control measures.
1. Identify the Hazards
The first step of a risk assessment is identifying the hazards possible in your workplace. Being realistic about what can happen, understanding the risks, and listening to agricultural equipment safety tips is essential to reducing hazardous occurrences.
- Visit the HSE website – The best place to start is to visit the Health and Safety Executive website to learn how to identify and control hazards.
- Consider long-term risks – Even though short-term risks are more prominent in your current life, identifying long-term hazards essential to avoid any liability issues later down the line (i.e., exposure to toxic chemicals or substances).
- Consider non-routine operations – Although you may not use a specific piece of machinery every day, this doesn’t mean something won’t go wrong. Consider non-routine operations when identifying hazards in your workplace, such as 6-month maintenance or alterations of production cycles.
- Analyze your accident records – Your previous records can give you an idea of what has happened, the circumstances surrounding the accidents, and identify less-obvious risks.
- Check instructions – The last way to identify hazards in the workplace is to check the manufacturers’ instructions on each piece of farm machinery equipment.
2. Evaluate the Risks
The second guideline to follow to mitigate workplace risks is to evaluate the risks — and how likely it is to happen in your workplace. Since risk is inevitable, you want to lessen the chance of risk, manage the risks accordingly, and educate yourself about the most likely risks that could occur. Typically, employers need to do everything reasonably practicable to reduce the prevalence of foreseeable risks.
By identifying risks that are possible in the workplace that are foreseeable, employers can make the following decision that can reduce the likelihood of accidents:
- Consult with workers regarding the potential hazard
- Issue protective equipment to everyone in the workplace
- Restrict access to the hazardous farm machinery equipment
- Try a safer option
- Provide welfare facilities
3. Record Your Findings
The next step for employers to reduce risk and adhere to workplace guidelines is to record significant findings, such as the present hazards, the risks of the hazards, and the control measures to reduce the risks and hazards from occurring in the workplace. Keeping well-maintained, detailed, and accurate findings regarding farm safety and workplace guidelines is essential to establishing an organized record system and forecasting for the next production quarter.
4. Risk Assessment
The last step of workplace guidelines to reduce the risk and mitigate issues is conducting a risk assessment. Employers must include the following criteria in the risk assessment:
- A proper check was conducted.
- The employer asked who might be affected by the risk.
- The employer considered who might be involved with the risk.
- The precautions are reasonable.
- The employer notified the employees.
Once the risk assessment is complete, the employer must review the guidelines on an ongoing basis. The employer must ask themselves the following questions to reduce long-term risk and adhere to the ever-changing workplace safety regulations:
- Have there been any changes in the workplace?
- Do you need to change or make improvements to the guidelines?
- Are workers concerned about their safety?
- Have employers learned anything following workplace accidents?
Farm owners, employers, and supervisors must take advice regarding farm equipment, machinery, and vehicles while working on a farm. Health and safety regulations must be in place to ensure employees are safe, risks are mitigated, and the workplace environment is controlled.
Farming can be a hazardous occupation. Since there are numerous safety issues and workplace concerns regarding farm machinery equipment and guidelines, employers must know how to spot potential issues, mitigate risks, and keep their employees safe.
Along with the regulations set forth to help prevent injury and health concerns at work, additional guidelines and pieces of advice can help employers provide educational tools to avoid health and safety risks.
6. Purchase CE Marked Vehicles
The first piece of advice employers must consider is only to use safe farm equipment that is ‘CE’ marked. The ‘CE’ mark shows that each piece of machinery meets the legal safety requirements, contains a certificate of conformity, and contains any information regarding noise levels.
Furthermore, those purchasing second-hand machines must check that the used equipment meets the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, features a suitable operator’s manual, and does not contain any missing or damaged safety guards.
7. Maintaining Farm Vehicles
The next piece of advice for farm owners and employees is to maintain farm vehicles and farm machinery to ensure everything is in working order. Individuals who will be hiring employees to operate the farm machinery must train and educate them on all pieces of equipment that will be in use.
8. Avoiding Health Risks and Accidents
Improving farm machinery safety can help reduce health risks and accidents by identifying situations that can cause head injuries, amputations, slips and falls, crushing injuries, and fatal injuries. Employers can avoid health risks by adhering to good farm machinery safety practices, such as the following:
- Use ‘safe stop’ machinery when necessary
- Understand the instruction manual before using farm machinery equipment
- Wear proper footwear and clothing
- Repair and maintain all equipment
In addition, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires that employers do the following:
- Set standards in place regarding farm machinery safety practices
- Organize workers via communication
- Establish an action plan
- Perform a risk assessment