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Managing the Safe Delivery of Animal Feeds

19 August 2014

Accidents and fatalities plague the agricultural sector, so planning for expected events, such as feed delivery day, should be worthwhile for an industry trying to stay safe.

An Irish-based engineer has stated that responsibility should be shared between farmer and supplier but that preparation is worthwhile as deliveries are a regular feature of the farm's working life. 

Peter Richardson of McAree engineering stresses the importance of different approaches needed for different deliveries, whether bagged, blown or tipped. 

Delivery Planning

Every delivery to farm needs planning in advance so that all the risks associated with the proposed delivery are considered and precautions are put in place to secure the safety of all involved either directly (e.g. driver, farm worker, contract staff) or indirectly (e.g. children, public) with the delivery whilst it is taking place.

Key things to consider at the delivery planning stage include:

  • What time will the delivery arrive and when will you be notified?
  • Will there be any supervision of the delivery?
  • Farms must be adequately signed from the road.
  • Is yard area big enough for the delivery vehicle & adequately lit?
  • Is storage facility clearly marked and in good condition?
  • How will the product be unloaded bulk blown / tipped/ forklift discharge?
  • Are all people aware of the risks of using forklift trucks (FLT)-not just those who will be driving the FLT?
  • Is ground at discharge point sound and level?
Peter Richardson writes that eleven questions should be answered before a feed delivery
  • Are there overhead wires where the vehicle will park during discharge of the load?
  • Is the roof high enough to accommodate the vehicle when its body is fully raised?
  • Any additional specific hazards which a delivery driver should be aware of?

Bulk Blown Deliveries

A fixed delivery/filler pipe should be provided to which the driver can connect and make a safe delivery. Delivery pipes should be set between waist and head height and must be easily accessible. Ensure there is sufficient storage capacity to receive all the feed ordered.

Feed Silos must be in a good state of repair, free from damage and excessive corrosion and must be securely fixed to the ground to prevent collapse or overturn.

Lofts – access to the loft by the delivery driver must be avoided wherever possible. Lofts should be fitted with fixed delivery pipes both at the connection point and within the loft.

Where loft access is unavoidable the following requirements are needed to secure a delivery drivers safety:

  • Interiors must be well lit with solid floors
  • Ladders or steps must be in a good state of repair, placed on a firm footing and must be secured at the top,
  • Staircases must be fitted with a handrail and must be free of water or other material which may render them slippery.

You must ensure feed can be delivered into the loft safely.

Farm Trailers

  • Must be parked on level ground, securely hitched to a tractor or a secured ground point
  • Must be in the lowered position during delivery to ensure that they do not roll away /tip over during filling putting the delivery driver and farmer at risk.

The delivery driver must be able to discharge the feed from ground level i.e. without having to climb on the trailer to connect the pipes

Industrial containers must adequately vented to avoid dangerous build-up of air pressure during discharge of the product.

IBC’s (tote bags) or bins must be filled using suitable equipment or other safe arrangements put in place which avoids the need for the driver or customer to hold the delivery pipe.

Overhead Power Lines (OHPL) – feed delivery lorries should not be raised directly below or adjacent to OHPLs. Where ever possible always locate the feed delivery point well away from OPHL to avoid contact with the cable or flashover as this may result in death or injury.

Bulk Tipped Deliveries

Raising the body of the loaded vehicle when parked on sloping or uneven ground may result in a vehicle overturn, causing significant damage to buildings, damage to the vehicle and possible serious injury to or even death of the driver. Road surfaces around the delivery point should be level and firm.

Do not reach under a raised tipping trailer (to clean away spilt feed) as there is a risk of being crushed should the trailer body descend. Pedestrians (including farm staff and drivers) should remain at a location which is a safe distance away from the rear often vehicle /trailer when its body is raised. A sudden release of material whilst discharging through the rear door may result in the individual being buried and possible suffocation or being struck by the rear door.

Overhead Power Lines (OHPL) – feed delivery lorries should not be raised directly below or adjacent to OHPLs. Where ever possible always locate the feed delivery point well away from OPHL to avoid contact with the cable or flashover as this may result in death or injury.

Uneven or Sloping Ground

Make sure tipping sites have no uneven or sloping ground -  A fully loaded articulated vehicle when tipped to a maximum can only sustain a slope of 2.5 degrees before it starts to overturn

Keep clear of the rear of the vehicle when tipping - All pedestrians, including drivers and farm staff must stand clear of the rear of the trailer at all times when tipping. Trailer doors can fail and spring open without warning. This can lead to serious injury and death through suffocation or being struck by the tailgate.

Buildings – when tipping the roof of the building must be sufficiently high to allow the feed to be discharged safely without the risk of a roof strike. Discuss vehicle height with your supplier at the planning stage. Some vehicles may be fitted with an air suspension system that allows the body of the trailer to rise as the load is tipped increasing overall height.

Bag Deliveries

Wherever possible provide a safe area, off the public highway where there is sufficient space for the unloading to take place. Vehicles should only be unloaded at the roadside if safe arrangements are in place to avoid the driver working in the path of other road users. The drivers and operators need to be aware of other road users and their safety at all times.

The curtain sided vehicles used to deliver bagged feed often require more headroom than a bulk vehicle. You should discuss the height of the vehicle with your supplier to assess that the site is not restricted by overhead obstructions such as tree branches or overhead power lines.

Unloading a Vehicle using a Vehicle Mounted Forklift Truck

The ground surrounding the vehicle to be uploaded should be level and firm. Operating a forklift truck on uneven or soft ground can result in an overturn.

Any person operating a forklift truck must have the appropriate training. There must be adequate space for the fork lift truck driver/customer operator to safely manoeuvre the forklift truck around the vehicle whilst unloading.

The area where the vehicle is parked must be as close as is practical to the storage area in order to minimise the distance travelled by the forklift truck

Manually Unloading Vehicles

If vehicle is to be manually unloaded, then the route from the vehicle to the feed store must be:

  • Minimised to avoid the risk of injury from manual handling
  • Free from obstructions e.g. steps, uneven ground which may cause slips, trips or manual handling injuries
  • Adequately lit, particularly when passing from daylight into buildings

Delivery Planning Checklist

Check through the items below and ensure your supplier is made aware of any issues which may affect your delivery. Please discuss with your supplier using their contact details.

Vehicle Movements

  • Delivery Times
  • Directions
  • Any access restrictions (e.g. Gateposts)
  • Max size of the vehicle suitable for delivery
  • Is there space to turn vehicle around
  • Headroom
  • Weight restriction

Delivery Point

  • Lighting
  • Livestock
  • Pedestrians
  • Loft/Silo/Building or other
  • Firm level ground (e.g. soft ground/Manhole covers)
  • Capacity
  • Clearly identified
  • Fixed discharge point for bulk deliveries
  • Properly maintained

Delivery Operations

  • Overhead wires present
  • Overhead wires marked
  • Access to delivery point clear
  • Height of building if relevant
  • Loft – fixed delivery pipes/secure ladder or stairs access
  • Bags – minimised manual handling

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