Long Days, Hot Temperatures and Large Machinery. A Dangerous Mix!

The farming industry never stops, and this time of year we see that familiar site of combine harvesters hitting the fields!

August & September is a busy time for arable farmers and as in any industry with long days, hot temperatures and large machinery all mixed together can be a dangerous mix!

Many fatal and serious injuries occur with combine harvesters when operators are pulled into the machine at the reel/header unit.

Statistics show that 50% (12 people) of fatal injuries in 2021/22 in the agricultural industry were caused by moving vehicles and machinery!

The greatest risk of injury comes from contact with the machine’s moving parts including:

■ being pulled into the cutting mechanism;

■ contacting the knife, reel or stripper rotor;

■ being injured by the drive mechanisms or trapped when automatic sensors operate;

■ becoming entangled with the levelling or discharge augers in the grain tank;

■ contacting the straw chopper or spreader mechanism at the rear.

But what about when we come across one on our roads. These wide vehicles tend to plod down the road and some road users can get frustrated getting stuck behind them.

So how do we play it safe:

large vehicles may need extra road space to turn. Combine harvesters use rear wheel turning, and there back end can very quickly encroach onto the other side of the road. If you get a little eager you may have a nasty accident.

When Overtaking drop back, this will increase your ability to see ahead and should allow the driver more opportunity to see you in their mirrors. Ensure you have enough room to complete your manoeuvre before committing yourself. It takes longer to pass a large vehicle.

In this situation patience is key.