Who is at risk? Farmers, Farm Staff and Feed Advisers.
What are the risks?
The main risks to your health and safety when sampling silage come from working alone, falling from a clamp, bale stack or clamp pit wall, injury or suffocation from clamp or bale stack collapse.
There have been fatalities, broken limbs and other injuries that have occurred during silage sampling.
The process of making silage clamps has its own risks which are not included in this particular guidance.
Make sure you have checked in on site. Why? Ensure someone on site knows where you are and what you are doing. They can raise an alarm if an accident is suspected.
Do you have the robust shoes, clothing etc for the task Why? The correct footwear can prevent slips; high visibility clothing can alert others to your presence.
View the clamp
Assess the risks and equipment you need to complete sampling. Think about height, access, gaps and overhang. Why? Injuries happen when unnecessary risks are taken, or the wrong equipment used. Don’t take shortcuts just because you’re in a hurry.
If you need assistance, ask for it. Why? Working on top of a clamp or using a bucket loader will require help.
Always make sure that someone knows where you are and what you are doing..
Make sure all staff on your site have a mobile phone which they carry with emergency numbers programmed in.
Make a rule that anyone visiting your farm must contact you before they start any sampling and again when they have finished and are leaving your farm.
If possible, accompany staff or visitors who are sampling silage.
Remember if an accident occurs on your farm, you may be held responsible if there are no safe working procedures in place.
Carry a mobile phone and make sure that emergency numbers are programmed in.
Follow the farm rules e.g. wear high visibility jackets.
Contact the farmer or farm manager when you arrive and again when you are leaving – remember you may not know what other activities are happening on the farm during your visit.
If the above are not available, let someone responsible know where you are and what you are doing, for example, your manager, your colleague, your family.
Ideally, avoid working alone on silage clamps.
Remember – make contact, work safely and have emergency numbers available in the event of an accident.
WORKING AT HEIGHT
If possible, avoid working at height. If not possible, then ensure you have assistance and plan the sampling task.
Accessing the top of the clamp - make sure there is a safe way up or there is other equipment such as a ladder or steps.
Ideally have edge protection such as handrails on the pit walls and stay away from a cut front face.
Be aware of a gap or soft area between the clamp pit wall and the silage.
For front face sampling, use the loader bucket to dig out a small area and collect a sample from the bucket. Never collect a sample directly from the silage face if it is more than your head height. Move away from the silage face before exiting the loader. Note: being lifted on forks or in the bucket of a telehandler is dangerous and illegal – use the correct equipment such as a MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform) or scaffold.
Bale sampling – under no circumstances climb onto a stack of silage bales. They could move and trap or injure you. Use a telehandler to move bales to a safe area on the ground and sample from there.
Stop working if conditions become dangerous, for example, strong winds or low light.
Remember – it may take a few moments to assess and plan your sampling task, but recovering from a fall may take months, years or even the rest of your life.
Once open, clamps are often used by mechanical cutting with a loader bucket from the front. This can result in an overhang which could collapse.
Stay at least twice the height of the clamp away from the front face.
For front face sampling, use the loader bucket to dig out a small area and collect a sample from the bucket. Never collect a sample directly from the silage face if it is taller than you. Move away from the silage face before exiting the loader. Note: being lifted on forks or in the bucket of a telehandler is dangerous and illegal – use the correct equipment such as a MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform) or scaffold.
Remember – if a clamp collapses on top of you, you could be injured, unconscious and unable to call for help.
Our Contact Details
Forage Analysis Assurance Group First Floor, Unit 4 The Forum Minerva Business Park, Lynch Wood Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 6FT