Skip to content
General operating of equipment

Machinery operation poses many risks to both the operator and bystanders. The size, weight, moving parts and complexity of machinery results in it being one of the leading causes of injury and fatalities in farming. Learn how to manage machinery risk in your operation.

  • Ensuring you have trained, inducted operators working on your machinery is critical.
    • An effective induction can outline general risks of machinery and equipment and set the tone that safety comes first.
    • General pointers that are consistent, irrespective of the type, make or model of the machine, can be included into a generic induction.
    • These pointers can include roll over, run over, falls, crush injuries, guarding, maintenance, speed and even right of way.

  • Specific training relevant to each machine will enable the safe operation of specific equipment.
    • When providing training, ensure the requirements of the operator’s manual are adhered to.
    • If you have an older piece of equipment, operator's manuals can usually be located on the internet or from the dealer.
    • In addition, a safe work procedure may be required for higher risk equipment to ensure it is used safely.

  • Maintaining a piece of equipment to manufacturers specifications is paramount.
    • Ensure safety provisions such as guards and sensors are not removed or disabled.
    • Regular servicing and maintenance will not only ensure the safety of the equipment but also its productivity.
    • You should keep a detailed service record so you know what is required and when it is due as well as for compliance purposes.

  • A pre-start inspection is a safe and productive way to ensure the machine is ready and safe to operate.
    • A prestart inspection could include a walk around the machine and lifting the hood checking tyres, water, oil and hydraulics.

  • It is also important to be mindful of fatigue around machinery. Critical times around the farm such as seeding and harvest can involve long hours.
    • In addition, operation of machinery and equipment can sometime be monotonous, continuous and even boring!
    • Ensure regular breaks are taken, adequate sleep is maintained and issues with fatigue are managed and prioritised.
Read more
Tractors and attachments

Tractors and implements are among the most dangerous equipment on farm. That being said, there are lots of things you can do to make their operation and maintenance safer.

Video 3 - Tractors - Captioned
  • Prior to using any equipment, make sure the operator is confident to use it correctly and in line with manufacturers' specifications.
    • Use the operator’s manual to facilitate this or consider an in-house safe work procedure.
    • Each machine is different so be sure to do a quick run over, even if the operator has had prior experience.

  • While operating the equipment:
    • Be conscious of using the correct personal protective equipment.
    • Know the critical points of danger such as crush points.
    • Ensure you enter and exit the machine safely.
    • Have a process in place for starting up and take off, such as checking your surroundings and sounding the horn.

  • Ensure all machinery is maintained to manufacturers' specifications. This includes:
    • Having all guards in place.
    • Ensuring lights and beacons are working.
    • Ensuring other safety sensors and devices are in good working condition.
Read more

Many grain growers operate their own spraying equipment on farm. In addition, the information about tractor operation in general, chemical application on farm has the additional risk of chemical safety.

Video 4 - Sprayers - Captioned
  • Understand the chemical you are handling and applying.
    • Refer to the label on the packaging and the Safety Data Sheet to ensure you are following the required steps.

  • Personal protective equipment is a critical requirement when handling and applying chemicals.
    • A full kit of PPE should be stored on machine and operators should be instructed on how to use it correctly.

  • Choose the safest equipment available and maintain it properly.
    • This could include:
      • a closed delivery system to limit handling of chemicals
      • ensuring cabin air filters are checked and changed as required
      • carefully monitoring for leaks which could be exacerbated under pressure
    • Access to clean running water is also important on the machine.
      • This should include an eyewash and ability to wash your hands and gloves.

  • Self-propelled sprayers are some of the largest pieces of equipment in grain farming.
    • Be conscious of entering and exiting safely.
    • Use appropriate safety equipment when accessing the highest parts of the equipment, such as the cabin air filter.
    • Be conscious of your surroundings when moving around, such as overhead powerlines.
Read more

Continue Learning