Farm company finds inventive solution to machine safety pitfall
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Farmers have been urged to follow “Safe Stop” procedures to prevent machinery accidents during the busy harvest season – with one East Anglian firm finding an inventive solution to a common obstacle.
The Safe Stop procedure aims to reduce the risk of farmers, their families or their colleagues being killed because they are run over by farm vehicles or pulled into machinery after the driver has left the cab with the engine running.
The simple safety solution requires machinery operators to ensure the hand brake is engaged, the controls are in neutral, the engine is switched off and the keys removed before they leave the cab.
But farmers say the procedure is not always practicable, with one common complaint being that GPS systems are lost when the engine is turned off even for a short period of time, wasting valuable time as the system loads up again.
One company that has addressed this issue is Fenland salad and vegetable grower G’s Fresh, based at Barway near Ely, which employs 1,500 full-time staff plus 2,500 seasonal staff at peak periods.
John Boyle, head of health, safety, risk and CI at G’s, said: “We take safety seriously for everyone involved in our business.
“We recognised that run-over accidents could be prevented altogether if the Safe Stop procedure is followed every time. It is a simple and effective way to remove the risk from vehicle run-overs.
- 1 Crumbling coast fear means Norfolk's 'golf ball' radar must be moved
- 2 DVLA issues urgent warning to drivers in UK
- 3 Pub gets dozens of calls asking - 'Do you know there's a dog on your roof?'
- 4 City chip shop might be SINKING but refuses to close
- 5 Rare insect spotted in Norfolk for first time in nearly 100 years
- 6 Yobs pictured climbing on vandalised charity dinosaur
- 7 Seaside Victorian B&B for sale near 'best beach in the east'
- 8 The days you can visit Wroxham Barns for a fiver this month
- 9 Best friends take over popular café in 'just heavenly' setting
- 10 'Unusual' cottage for sale in one of Norfolk's smuggling villages
“We also recognised that, in certain circumstances, it is not always possible to apply Safe Stop. That didn’t mean we should abandon Safe Stop altogether, as health and safety is all about understanding and effective control.
“We made a list of the equipment or task that was preventing full application of Safe Stop and, with team involvement we then looked at effective measures that could be put into place, using a hierarchy to control and manage risk.
“One issue addressed was the common complaint that Safe Stop cannot be applied because it causes the GPS to switch off, leading to delays.
“After investigating why this happened, the solution we hit on was to provide auxiliary power to GPS and other systems, either by wiring direct to the battery or by adding an additional rechargeable battery.
“There was a little cost to this, and it took a little time, but we felt that the cost in time and money was well worth the investment to remove the risk to our workers of a vehicle run-over. In some cases, this prevented the GPS resetting, improving efficiency.
“Safe Stop is a simple and effective way to remove risk of run-over altogether. But where it is not possible, understand where and why and use a hierarchy to control and manage the risk effectively.”