Safety alert: Reducing farm vehicles deaths and injuries

Hundreds of serious incidents occur within British agriculture every year, with the majority of these incidents involving moving vehicles. Vehicles play a vital role in farm work, with many farms having a multitude of different vehicles such as tractors, ATVs, combine harvesters, cars etc.  

Because of this, it’s becoming more important that farmers look at their activities and make sure that adequate control measures are put in place to reduce the risk of workplace incidents involving moving vehicles. 

What’s the issue? 

British agriculture has the highest rate of fatalities and injuries (per 100,000 workers) than any other industry sectors in Great Britain. The main causes of serious incidents are moving or overturning vehicles. 

Hundreds of people are injured by moving vehicles every year, and in the last five years moving vehicles have been the cause of 30% of all fatalities on farms. 

What do you need to do? 

The HSE has launched a farm vehicle safety campaign focussing on three pillars of vehicle safety. These pillars focus on daily farming activities that can help reduce the number of moving vehicle related incidents without adding additional financial strain on the farms. These are: 

Operate a safe farm 

  • Complete risk assessments for your activities and make sure your workers are aware of the control measures required. 
  • Segregate vehicular movements and pedestrians using clearly marked and/or dedicated walkways. 
  • Where possible, use barriers or posts in higher traffic areas. 
  • Display appropriate signage to make pedestrians aware there may be moving vehicles. 
  • Make sure there’s good lighting in high traffic areas. 
  • Ensure high-visibility clothing is used wherever possible. 

Maintain a safe vehicle 

  • Regularly check and maintain brakes on all vehicles. 
  • Make sure trailers have brakes designed for the maximum loads and speeds at which they will operate. 
  • Ensure a seatbelt is fitted and worn every time a vehicle is used. 
  • Where vehicles have doors fitted as standard, make sure they’re attached securely and remain closed when the vehicle is moving. 
  • Where vehicles have mirrors fitted as standard, ensure they are fitted securely and are clean to ensure maximum visibility. 
  • Make sure all maintenance work is carried out by someone with the appropriate knowledge and training. 
  • Ensure jacks are correctly positioned when raising vehicles or machinery. If working under a vehicle, always use the correct supports such as props or scotch mechanisms. 

Be a safe driver 

  • Use the handbrake every time you stop. 
  • If you are getting out of a vehicle, apply the handbrake, make sure the vehicle is in neutral, switch off the engine and remove the keys. 
  • Ensure everyone in your business has received sufficient and suitable training to drive/operate the vehicle they’re using. 
  • Make sure you become familiar with the vehicle (e.g. do you know where the blind spots are?) 
  • Ensure mirrors and windows are kept clean on the vehicle. 
  • Keep people away from where vehicles are being operated and make sure they’re in a place where you can see them. 

Please see the original HSE Work Right Agriculture campaign here.   

Got any questions? 

If you would like more information, please call our 24/7 advice line and speak to one of our experts on 0345 844 4848. 

If you’re an Atlas user*, you can access our vehicle safety checklist on the platform, here.

 *Please note that only certain Atlas users, including all Service owners and H&S Co-ordinators have access to these documents in Atlas. If you have any questions about how to access anything in Atlas, please give our Atlas support team a call on 0345 310 0658 or email

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