All growers of crops need to harvest them, and for arable farmers and some others, harvest is weather dependent and within a tight window. This often results in an unholy combination of lots of inexperienced workers, use of heavy and infrequently used machinery, heavy road use, long hours and fatigue, and huge time pressure and stress. It is easy to forecast accidents.
You probably start your preparations for harvest well in advance. These preparations are likely to include sensible precautions such as maintenance and servicing of equipment and sourcing of suitable labour. Many farms have risk assessments covering harvesting operations in place.
One last consideration – evidence. A temporary worker, who is young and inexperienced, is driving a heavily laden trailer back to the yard in the evening. He is tired, sunburnt and hungry. He takes the most direct route, which leads down a steep and narrow lane which is busy at rush hour. When a speeding vehicle appears round the corner, he is slow to react, the brakes are overloaded and spongy and a collision results. Yes, it all sounds quite predictable.
One of the outcomes of this event is that a variety of people, including insurers, the police and possibly enforcement officers, are going to ask you to prove the plans you put in place all those months ago.
- Prove your trailer brakes were serviced and any remedial actions taken.
- Prove routine service and checks on the brakes under heavy use.
- Prove your procedure for loading the trailer.
- Prove your policy of avoiding busy roads at rush hour.
- Prove the instructions given to your workers.
- Prove that their welfare was adequately considered.
Yes, there are simple and not too onerous ways of doing this, but it has to be thought out in advance. So if your confidence is not high, look to next season, and plan in your time to add in some simple record keeping now. You could even ask us over to assist.