Machinery Workshop Report

The Machinery Safety Workshop convened by IOSH Rural Industries Group (RIG) on behalf of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) produced some interesting and informative presentations and discussions.

14 November 2013

The Workshop was held on 1 October, at the NFU HQ, Stoneleigh.  The successful and well-attended event received good coverage in the farming media, radio interviews and Twitter. The event was open to non-members and was over-subscribed, attracting nearly 80 delegates on the day.

FSP workshop delegates

Organiser and chair of the Workshop, RIG Vice Chair Alan Plom, reports: 

“To focus our attention, the event started with an HSE update and detailed analysis of machinery-related fatalities and incidents. We also heard views and technical updates from a wide range of other speakers, but a key part of the event was delegates sharing their concerns, practical solutions and ideas for the future, through ‘round-table’ discussions.

FSP workshop

This has given us a plethora of views and ideas from a wide range of perspectives, including machinery manufacturers and dealers, researchers, colleges and trainers, insurers and advisors, unions and trade organisations and many others working in the field – literally, in the case of the good number of farmers and contractors who took an active part.”

“The many pages of ideas recorded during the event are currently being digested and will help the FSP’s 33 partner organisations to tackle their concerns and problems experienced, eg through plugging gaps in guidance and improving training, and in particular, working with others to develop campaigns to target key topics and change the ‘can-do’, ‘risk-taking’ culture in farming.  The Workshop certainly oozed a positive ‘can-do’ attitude to work together and do something about it.”

The event was also used to launch the FSP’s ‘Safe Stop’ initiative . This aims to reduce the number of incidents in which operators are run over by their own tractors (eg due to failure to apply or maintain handbrakes) or entangled in machinery during maintenance or clearing blockages because they are left under power.  Based on the incident statistics, this had previously been identified as the #1 priority.

Other topics of concern and interest commonly raised by delegates included design, safe use, maintenance and clearing blockages in combines and other harvesting equipment; potential contact with overhead power lines and PTOs; tractors and trailers on the road; ATVs, older machines, etc.  Improving awareness, training and communications were themes running throughout. 

It is proposed to discuss and progress these issues through a series of ‘task and finish’ groups – some of which may meet ‘virtually’ through IOSH-hosted webinars.  A proposed plan of work will be considered by the FSP Board on 22 November, after which further information will be released.

Some of the presentations from the event can be viewed and it is proposed to add audio recordings to some of these later.  Further quotes and background on the Workshop are available in the IOSH Press Release. An excellent independent summary and thought-provoking article was published by delegate Mike Donovan, editor of Practical Farm Ideas.

Finally, Alan makes a plea: 

“If anyone is inspired to contribute to the work of the Farm Safety Partnership, we are open to suggestions and offers of help.  Further details are available on the new Farm Safety Partnership website  www.farmsafetypartnership.co.uk also launched at the Workshop.”    

FSP logo