Lamma 2012 preview

Lamma 2012: Safer farm working by design

With health and safety an increasing focus on farms, Jane Carley looks at the latest products which may help.

Safety is a key issue on farms, with the Health and Safety Executive declaring agriculture as the riskiest industry sector. Major causes of fatal injuries include accidents with moving tractors and machinery and falls from height, many of which occur working in the field or workshop.

Lamma is a showcase for many innovative products from suppliers who may not attend other agricultural shows, and its hands-on atmosphere means solutions are often developed in response to farmer requests.

There are plenty of useful products and services on offer this year which could help improve safety around the farm.

20/20 vision

As machinery gets larger and more sophisticated, cameras help to keep an eye on operations from the safety of the cab, as well as protecting bystanders when reversing.

Trailer Vision has launched a new waterproof battery pack for its digital wireless camera systems as a result of requests from customers at last year’s Lamma.

The new pack will power a camera for more than 12 hours and charging takes less than six hours.

It has a magnetic base and a velcro fixing strap and, if used with the Digi-View system, gives operators a completely portable system, as the Digi-View monitor also includes an internal rechargeable battery.

The new ‘Portable Digi-View’ system ensures operators can use a remote camera for any application, as and when required, without any power or cables. It can also be moved quickly and easily between vehicles, implements or machinery; between several vegetable harvesters in the fleet, for example.

Changing tyres without tears

Larger and wider tyres can make changing wheels in the workshop a hazardous job.

The Craftsman wheel lifter, from tyre supplier Sam Moreton and Sons, uses a two-speed hydraulic ram, which is housed within the rear box section frame.

As the ram operates it pulls the rollers towards each other on the fastest speed and once the rollers bear the weight of the tyre the ram speed changes to the slower speed. The slower speed is for finer height adjustment and once the tyre is lifted off the ground, it can be easily rotated on the roller bed to locate onto the wheel studs.

Able to lift up to 1,200kg, equivalent to an 800/65/R32 ballasted, the Craftsman has an angled support arm for easy access to the wheel studs, casters to manoeuvre the unit once the tyre is mounted on the roller bed and a stabilising arm for dual wheels and row crops.

Fencing risks reduced

Derbyshire fencing contractor Alan Frogatt developed the ProFencer as a result of his own experiences installing stock fencing in difficult locations.

Mounted front or rear on a compact tractor, ProFencer can unroll, erect and tension rolls of fencing up to 500 metres in length and 1,200mm (3ft 11in) high.

Individual hydraulic controls give the operator complete control of height, tilt and wire tension in total safety, even in the most challenging of conditions, says Mr Frogatt.

The unit can also be mounted on a telehandler and accessories include a barbed wire dispenser and netting rewinder.

Shine a light

LED lights have become increasingly popular in recent years, according to David Timms of Britax PMG.

“Farmers tell us they feel vulnerable on the roads, especially trunk roads and dual carriageways, and LEDs offer a brighter, more intense, light, which can help make agricultural vehicles more visible,” he says.

LEDs are also cheaper in the long run with ultra-low current consumption, offer ‘fit and forget’ durability and allow beacons to run when the engine is switched off.

Britax PMG, which offers a wide range of LED beacons, lamps and light bars, says light bars are also in demand, particularly for high risk operations such as hedgecutting.

Health and safety simplified

An accident on the farm could have a significant impact on the business as well as taking a toll on staff morale, but the paperwork and time involved in risk assessments can be onerous.

Safety Revolution helps farmers to reduce the likelihood of injury or death by implementing practical risk reduction measures, and also helps farmers demonstrate they have complied with the law and taken all reasonable measures to reduce risk to staff, contractors and visitors.

The Cambridge-based company, which will be introducing farmers to its services at Lamma, takes a practical, hands-on approach, includes talking to the farm staff, gathering their views and involving them in risk reduction.

This goes hand-in-hand with generating the necessary paperwork, including risk assessments, health and safety policies and training plans, while keeping the paperwork to a minimum.

Managing director Oliver Dale says: “We are all from farming backgrounds with relevant industry experience and formal health and safety qualifications.

“As a specialist agricultural team, we are able to deliver advice which will help a rural employer demonstrate they have fulfilled their obligations to staff and enable them to prove it through a combination of staff engagement, practical improvements and associated documentation.”

Safe grain monitoring

Grainsafe will launch Smartprobe at Lamma, described as an innovative grain temperature monitoring probe to enable farmers to easily keep an accurate eye on grain temperatures and, by removing the need to regularly clamber over heaps of grain, reduces health and safety worries and the risk of grain contamination.

Designed and built by a third generation arable farmer, it delivers all the benefits of more complicated and expensive integrated temperature monitoring systems. The rechargeable Smartprobe can be left in the grain and reports temperatures via an array of LED lights.

By automatically adjusting LED intensity according to background light, the display is always sharp to read and can be viewed from a distance, in all levels of light.

LED technology also reduces power consumption, which means up to six months continuous use of the Smartprobe between recharges.

Keep brakes in check

Erentek specialises in supplying kits to provide agricultural trailers with air braking – either as a retrofit to existing units or for fitting to new trailers by their manufacturers. The company also provides kits for tractors to enable them to operate trailers fitted with air brakes.

Company owner Michael Erentraut is campaigning to increase farmers’ awareness of the need for regular brake roller testing. “From a safety point of view it is the only way to ensure brakes are operating to the correct specification.

“As well as being dangerous, inefficient trailer brakes put a big strain on the tractor’s braking system, which could lead to further problems, especially if the trailer is unwittingly overloaded. It therefore pays to have your trailer brakes serviced regularly, and preferably checked once a year on a rolling road.”

Brake roller testing enables numerous checks to be made, including the braking efficiency of each individual wheel, brake balance and drum ovality. After the test is carried out, the customer is given a detailed printout of the test result.

Brake roller facilities are available from many large haulage operators or from VOSA HGV test stations – the former may be more local to the farm.

“If you keep the information in the tractor, and you are are pulled up for a vehicle inspection, you are armed with current information and would not be held in a compound for long periods of time,” says Mr Erentraut.

Heath and safety

FARMERS Guardian is working with organisations from across the farming industry to help improve awareness of health and safety issues.

With farming now Britain’s most dangerous industry, the Health and Safety Executive hopes the whole sector will take responsibility for driving down accidents and fatalities.

For the latest news and views on safety, factsheets, and debates, see here

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