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Dangerous Farm Machinery Practices Still Seen

by E M

posted in Business

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Almost every year, farmers and other farm workers are seriously injured or even die entirely unnecessarily in accidents involving farm machinery.
Now nobody is suggesting that some of the heavy agricultural equipment used in modern farming is ever going to be entirely 100% 'safe'. Whatever the philosophical issues might be, when you have human beings and heavy mobile machinery in close proximity to each other, the occasional accident is going to happen irrespective of the very best in precautions.
However, is also unfortunately the case that significant numbers of such accidents happen for reasons that are or would have been totally and completely avoidable with a modicum of common sense and professionalism.
Let's be honest about things.
Almost anyone involved in farming industry will admit to occasionally seeing examples of madness in terms of work practices around machinery. Sometimes these arise due to the irrational and inexplicable actions of an individual but occasionally and far more worryingly, they come about because of endemic poor workplace processes and practices.
Just a brief sample of some of the things that can be seen fairly regularly includes:
  • People operating high-speed and dangerous machinery without any form of eye protection
  • Heavy and elevated lifting going on with people at ground level wearing no hard-hat protection
  • The operation of things such as tractors and other major items by individuals who are clearly untrained and inexperienced - that even occasionally and shamefully includes children.
  • The use of extremely noisy equipment without adequate ear protection. That's not only dangerous for the hearing of the person concerned but it might stop them hearing others crying out warnings of other dangers.
  • Horsing around with or racing things like our RTVs and tractors
  • Heavy load electrical cables being draped on, around or over moving vehicle
  • Safety guards and other machinery protection removed from machinery simply for short-term convenience
  • Etc.

All of these things and many others like them should be relegated to those museums of "yesteryear farming". Yet sadly this just isn't happening.
However, one thing that many of us are also guilty of is witnessing examples of insane work practices and simply looking the other way. That's often because unless it is our farm or establishment and we have a degree of authority associated with that, there's the risk that we will be told to "mind your own business" when pointing out the dangers involved.
That's a great pity. The fact is that a reputable machinery trader, manufacturer or other provider of used equipment machinery will usually go to extreme lengths to try and make their kit as safe as is realistically possible - but all that is pointless if the operators and users ignore basic common-sense safety practices.
So, perhaps all of us need to be a little bit more thick-skinned and prepared to stand up and point fingers when we see practices in agriculture that have a high probability of leading to serious injury or even death. It's not unusual to see practices on some farms that would be unthinkable in factories where machinery was in use and that's something we should all work together to stamp out.
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