Thinking ahead of the tractor: Using checklists to improve driver safety

Thinking ahead of the tractor: Using checklists to improve driver safety

Agriculture is a high risk industry with fatalities and injuries happening every year.  During the 2017/18 period the HSE reported 33 fatalities within UK agriculture making farming the most hazardous occupation in the UK during that period.  One of the risks within agriculture is working with farm machinery – six of the fatalities during 2017/18 involved being struck by a moving vehicle, workers are also at risk of being entangled in moving machinery.  In order to address, and reduce, these fatalities it is vital we understand the underlying causes and lapses that lead to these incidents.

In order to support safety in farming Dr Irwin and the NTSAg research team collaborated with farm safety organisations Teagasc, Lantra, Elizabeth Creed Consulting, and sought support from IOSH and Women in Agriculture (Scottish Government) to produce a practical tool for farmers.  The result was the creation of the Tractor driver situation awareness checklist and user guide!  Checklists are already used to enhance safety in other industries such as aviation and healthcare though improving the reliability of safety checks, encouraging communication and helping workers to identify problems.  The situation awareness checklist applies the same principle to farming, using information provided by farmers from research to help improve driver safety. 

The checklist was launched in April 2019, you can read more about the checklist via an article in The Scotsman: https://www.scotsman.com/news/airline-pilot-checklist-to-cut-farm-dangers-1-4913685 The checklist can also be downloaded for free from the NTSAg research website: https://research.abdn.ac.uk/nts-farming/situation-awareness/ 

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