As more agricultural vehicles take to the roads and fields, the NFU urges farmers and growers to follow five top tips:
- Check that tractors and trailers are roadworthy. Make sure that indicators are fully visible and that trailer brakes are working correctly.
- Ensure all drivers are competent. Children under 16 are only allowed to operate certain machines, and it is illegal for children under 13 to drive or ride on any kind of agricultural machine.
- Be clear on the weight of vehicles and trailers and follow the correct speed limit.
- Don’t be tempted to cut corners to save time. Always consider the risks and take steps to mitigate them before the work is carried out.
- Ensure that all employees working on the farm have sufficient rest periods to help them stay alert.
NFU vice president Stuart Roberts said: “It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic nature of harvest. It’s an incredibly busy period for all arable farmers and quite often we’re working long hours to get the job done.
“I know first-hand the time pressures many farmers are under during harvest, but we’re all important to our businesses and our families. It is not worth risking an accident or injury just for the sake of saving a few minutes.
“This harvest I urge all farmers to take a second before we launch ourselves into the mammoth task ahead. We need to take the time to check that all our equipment is in good working order, that we are complying with vehicle weight and speed regulation and that our employees fully understand the correct processes to follow.
“Let’s make our safety our priority all throughout harvest.”