UK farming legislation – How can we make our farms safer?

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Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have shown that the agriculture industry is the most dangerous industry in the UK. With 27 fatal injuries last year alone, you are 18 times more likely to die at work in the farming sector than the overall UK industry rate. Nearly a quarter (23%) of fatal injuries occurred as a result of being struck by a moving vehicle. In the last decade, 36 vehicle related fatalities in the agricultural industry have occurred as the result of the operator being run over by their own vehicle or attached equipment. This highlights the very real danger of handling agricultural vehicles, machinery, and related equipment. With the UK’s European exit looming ever closer, now could be the time for UK legislation to change to address this issue, and perhaps take inspiration from our Irish neighbours.

Atkins Farm Machinery, who are the Irish importers for the Bredal range of trailed fertilizer spreaders, has taken action to ensure that their trailered units come with additional safety features to avoid vehicle related incidents occurring during and after operation. Atkins Farm Machinery now fits a 2-in-1 handbrake and failsafe breakaway system, known as the Powerbrake-RT, to their trailered spreaders as standard. Whilst not yet a legal requirement in the UK, a failsafe braking system is a mandatory requirement in Ireland, as well as in most European countries.

Atkins Farm Machinery’s Trevor Richardson says “With the ever increasing volume of Vehicles on the Irish roads, and the scale of Agricultural equipment that needs to travel our roads, the importance on road worthiness is crucial. To us, the safety of our customers and their workforce is paramount. This is why we have decided to fit the Powerbrake, which complies with all RSA requirements for use on Irish roads, and is of an exceptionally high quality when compared with the other systems on the market.”

Joe Deacon, the Managing Director of Distag QCS, who produce the Powerbrake, commented “The Powerbrake is an innovative solution to an increasingly worrying problem. It provides a highly effective breakaway device, as well as a fiercely powerful handbrake mechanism, which can be deployed when the trailer is stationary to keep it secured. We are keen to work towards a safer agricultural industry, and as a result, the Powerbrake-RT can now be retrofitted to any braked trailer.”

With the UK’s coming exit from the EU, will UK legislation change to reflect the safety measures being put in place elsewhere in an attempt to reduce loss of life and injury in the UK’s most dangerous industry?

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