Harvest safety – Charlie Lockhart reports

With the UK being in one of the driest springs since 1989, this year’s harvest may be coming around the corner sooner than we all thought.  So this could be the time to be thinking about how best to implement safety in the upcoming harvest.

Harvest is a busy time of year and safety can soon be forgotten, so being prepared can help minimise the risk of any accidents occurring. Here are some key points regarding harvest safety which can help your business be prepared;

Produce a harvest safety pack- these are good to give to all staff, students and contractors working on site and could include-

  • Farms Health and safety and risk assessment around harvest
  • How to act in case of emergency
  • Any rules around the farm such as speed limits, one way systems, field etiquette
  • Farm maps
  • Store locations
  • Fields and varieties
  • Machinery daily checklist and name of person to report any faults to
  • Numbers for emergency services, UK Power networks, all Key staff in charge on site
  • Maps with locations of power lines and underground cables
  • The main first aiders on site, locations of first aid equipment and who to report accidents to
  • Machinery maintenance and instructions – Ensuring all staff are trained on how to operate machinery correctly and safely and are able to check for any issues with their machinery which may cause it to fail
  • Fires- with the dry spring we are currently experiencing, fire could be a major hazard at harvest. Being prepared for fire can help prevent catastrophe. By checking that all fire extinguishers are in date and are in good working order and ensuring that there is a water bowser or tractor with a cultivator (or both) on standby if needed. Ensuring that the team are informed that if a fire occurs who has what responsibilities can help maximise time.
  • BE SAFE BE SEEN- making sure that all staff wear hi-vis clothing.
  • Store safety – if using bins and silos ensure all staff are aware of the dangers of falling from heights and the dangers of being entrapped by grain. The use of traffic management around stores, such as one way systems and speed limits, plus designated human walkways can help minimise risks of collisions.
  • Lone working – ensure when people are working alone for long periods of time that you check in regularly with them by text or phone
  • Fatigue – ensure that staff are getting adequate breaks during the day and have the correct amount of food and drink required to last the full day.
  • PPE – all staff should all be equipped with any PPE that they require to fulfil their job correctly.  PPE to consider: -dust masks, steel toe cap boots, bump hats, cut resistant gloves and coveralls.
  • COVID 19 – this is new to all farms and will be the first harvest where precautions will have to be introduced. For guidance on how to manage COVID 19 in your business visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work
  • What 3 words app could be a useful addition in the armoury when trying to locate fields for emergency services if an accident did occur on site. The app can also be used to locate fields for new staff and contractors.  https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app/

Useful Links for harvest safety ideas and information