Farmers urged to store feed safely

The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging farmers and the animal
feed industry to reassess risks associated to feed storage following the death
of a young Northamptonshire farmer.

The farmer was killed when a tipping trailer, used for storing animal feed,
overbalanced and crushed him. The sleepers that were used to support the
trailer were rotten and collapsed under the weight of the feed.

HSE Principal Inspector Alan Plom said: "Farmers should look objectively at the
practices that they have adopted over many years. Just because they have been
doing something in a certain way for a long time does not mean it is safe."

"It is essential that farmers take action where necessary. It is important to
recognise the dangers of makeshift equipment.

"Purpose made storage bins should be used for storage of animal feed but if
trailers have to be used then they should remain attached to a tractor if the
trailer body is raised."

When using unhitched trailers HSE advises the following precautions:

  • The trailer should not rely on the hydraulics for continuous support.
    Suitable props or ram scotches must be used.

  • The wheels need to be chocked as trailer parking brakes are often unreliable
    and on a twin axle trailer may only brake one axle which will be ineffective if
    weight transfers to the rear.

  • Stability - the means to prevent the trailer tipping over backwards should be
    equally effective as being hitched to a tractor - e.g. by securing the draw-bar
    to the ground or providing a counter balance, at the hitching point, equivalent
    to the weight of the tractor normally used on that trailer.

  • Whatever the method of storage, it should be inspected regularly for signs of
    deterioration which could affect the structural integrity. Any defects must be
    rectified immediately.

HSE have asked the feed industry to bring this incident to the attention of
farms where they deliver into similar facilities. Using trailers as feed bins
creates a real safety risk that needs to be sensibly managed to prevent harm to
farmers, their families and their businesses.

Further info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health & Safety Executive