Farms feeding sheep in field

Falling Bales Are Deadly Danger

Posted on: 9th July 2020

Under the brand of H&H Safety, we are working with IRM Safety, to promote farm health and safety in the agricultural sector. With recent figures announcing that 5% of farm workplace deaths are caused by falling bales, H&H Safety is keen to share vital tips for how to keep family and agricultural workers safe on the farm.

With farming a notoriously hazardous occupation, the hard work of baling is just one element of farm activity that can have fatal consequences. Neil Elsender, Managing Director of IRM Safety explains: “The farming community already knows that agriculture can be one of the most dangerous occupations and recent data shows that stacking and transporting bales is a significant safety risk. One of the main dangers of bale handling is being crushed or rolled over by bales, or getting trapped in tractors or other farm machinery when moving them from one place to another.”

Incidents involving bales are not uncommon, tragically resulting in 18 deaths since 2000: “Much of the work associated with bales can lead to fatal and serious accidents if not carried out safely. Considering their significant weight, and the inherent instability of stacks, precautions must be taken to protect farmers, workers and others in the vicinity during every stage of the bale handling.”

With this in mind, Neil sets out particular steps that will help reduce the likelihood of harm and injury.

Large round bales have been known to roll down slopes and cause harm, proving the importance of storing bales safely. Given the risks of heavy physical work, stacking requires skill.
This means making sure that bales are stacked safely in fields, farmyards, or buildings and:

  • Stacks are not excessively high
  • Stacks are built on firm, dry, level and freely draining ground
  • Stacks are constructed with a wide base and that bales are in good condition ensuring sturdy foundation
  • Maintenance of stacks should take place regularly – any that have become unstable should be rebuilt
  • There is enough space to allow tractors, trailers, and other vehicles to manoeuvre
  • Never overreach for bales and limit working to near edges

Removing bales from the field and transporting them is also associated with health and safety risks. Falling from trailers during transportation or unloading is a common danger, which is why training in transporting and securing loads is so important. Therefore, the moving of bales must be planned in advance, and the job only carried out by a skilled operator who has thoroughly checked the appropriateness of the machinery.

To avoid dangerous working procedures:

  • Plan routes over fields in advance and inform drivers of any rough ground, slopes, tracks and gateways
  • Assess ground conditions and potential contact with overhead power lines
  • Trailers must not be overloaded
  • No bales should hang over the edges of the trailer
  • The trailer must be secured even over short distances with suitable straps, and double straps at the rear of the load
  • Always travel at a safe and appropriate speed
  • Remember to consider the effect of the weight on the vehicle’s brake-capacity

“Farmers and their workers should review their systems for storage, handling, and training to prevent avoidable tragedies. Incidents occur in the field during baling and transport, during their storage and subsequent de-stacking and handling, for example, when bedding or feeding animals. Building awareness of better health and safety practices can reduce likelihood of accidents and help keep insurance premiums down for your farming business” concludes Neil.

H&H Safety is a health and safety support service for farm and rural businesses, and a partnership between H&H Insurance Brokers, specialists in rural insurance and IRM Safety, founded by Neil in 2006 as health and safety specialists.

What our customers think

Would recommend

10 January 2021

Excellent service fast and hassle free kept up to date

Christopher - 08 January 2021

H&H Insurance.
they found me a good insurance at the right price .

Eric - 07 January 2021

They were supportive, persistent, patient and affable - and we concuded the business successfully. I would recommend them to anyone.

Richard - 07 January 2021

Excellent and speedy service
Anyone we spoke to was well informed and very helpful

07 January 2021

The whole experience easy from start to finish. Everything was explained to me before making my decision. Very helpful staff. Definitely recommend to others!

07 January 2021

Easy to deal with and efficient
Yes definitely

07 January 2021

Good prompt reply
Good prompt responses to questions and enquiries and they try hard not to be beaten on price.

07 January 2021

good service

Andrew - 06 December 2020

They rang us up as the reminder email was sent to an old address and we were in danger of being of missing the start date for the new policy and would not have been insured.

Patricia - 03 December 2020

Great service
Great service, thanks Lee!

Helen - 03 December 2020

Efficient service In difficult times.

03 December 2020

Excellent staff
Excellent everything was explained and understood. Staff very helpful.

Michael - 08 November 2020

Good service
Great service and would recommend.

07 November 2020

H&H do the job!
We are not so good at responding to first emails - even though all information is always provided in a clear way, with timelines. We appreciate H&H for following up with us. Because of their work, we have not missed an important deadline yet. We have used H&H for years - because they are good at what they do. We need yo thank them!!

06 October 2020

If H and H continue provide competitive Farm Insurance, giving the required cover but at a lot lower price than other providers, I can certainly recommend them. I found out about H and H because another farmer recommended them to me.

Rory - 18 October 2020

I've renewed my house and contents insurance again with H&H Insurance Brokers; Cameron Johnston provided an excellent service and the policy is very competitively priced.

Nina - 07 October 2020

Great as always
Straight forward great prices why would you go anywhere else

07 October 2020

Negotiated the cost well. Pleasant staff.

06 October 2020

All ways helpful and prepared for all situations.
Always ready to discuss different situations and prepared to help at any time. Staff always friendly and helpful.

Brenda - 06 October 2020