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Agricultural Contractors Urged To Consider Workplace Transport Safety

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) Agriculture and Food Team (AFT) has announced it will be conducting workplace transport inspections focused on agricultural contractors throughout Northern Ireland from November 2023 to March 2024.

The inspection programme is being undertaken as part of the industry wide HSENI ‘Drive Danger Out’ campaign.

HSENI Inspectors will visit agricultural contractors to ensure their workplace transport safety management procedures comply with legislation and are appropriate to safeguard themselves, their workforce, farm families and members of the public at all the sites they work on.

Speaking about the workplace transport campaign, HSENI Principal Inspector (Agriculture and Food) Camilla Mackey said: Workplace transport and the use of equipment continues to cause death and major injuries in the agricultural industry.

“Agricultural contractors are themselves employers and have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Order to keep their employees and themselves safe whilst at work.

“Through the workplace transport campaign, we will work to ensure contractors are aware of their legal responsibilities. We will provide help and advice, but where necessary HSENI Inspectors will take enforcement action to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation.”

During inspections HSENI Inspectors will focus on three key areas, namely Safe Site, Safe Vehicle and Safe Driver. Some of the items addressed may include:

Safe Site

  • Do you as a contractor consult with the farmer prior to undertaking work on their land and discuss the site and any risks there may be on the site, for example, rough terrain, steep slopes, or overhead powerlines?
  • Do you and your staff carry signage to sites to notify members or the public, pedestrians, and other road users, for example, what work is being undertaken (if necessary)?
  • Do you have adequate emergency arrangements in place to ensure the safety of all drivers?

Safe Vehicle

  • Are all your vehicles adequately maintained by a competent person?
  • Are all mirrors and reversing cameras in place and in good condition?
  • Are all brakes working correctly on all vehicles?
  • Do all tractors and other vehicles have roll over protection structures in place and are they fit for purpose?
  • Have telescopic handlers and other similar vehicles been thoroughly examined by a competent person?

Safe Driver

  • Do drivers hold adequate licenses/training certificates for the vehicles they are authorised to drive?
  • Are specific risk assessments undertaken for younger drivers, who may not have the necessary, knowledge and experience of more mature drivers?
  • Are all drivers on site aware of others who may be working or living on the premises and are they notified to look out for those potentially vulnerable people, for example the older farmer or young children?
  • Are drivers’ aware children must not be carried on any agricultural vehicles until they are aged thirteen or over?
  • Do you have a mobile phone policy for your business, where drivers are not permitted to used mobile phones whilst working?

Agricultural contractors must be particularly vigilant when it comes to busier periods in the calendar year.

Contractors also may not necessarily be familiar with the site they are working on, and extra care must be taken when this is the case. The job(s) the contractor is undertaking must be discussed with the farmer (client) beforehand. It is advised the contractor or their employee (whomever is doing the particular job) walks the land in order to note potential hazards.

For more information on workplace transport safety in agriculture visit our website on www.hseni.gov.uk/workplacetransport

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