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Chapter 22 TRANSPORT - passengers in trailers etc.

Are you carrying your workers safely around your sports ground or golf course??

I have been round many sportsgrounds, golf courses and local authority sites and found that this is a problem which may affect you or may not trouble you at all - the carrying passengers in your tractor or tractor trailer.

Every year there are accidents which occur in the use of tractors and tractor-trailers and every year it seems that many employers and employees throw up their hands and say - "I didn't know that was a problem!"

Fact : forty four people were killed in Agriculture last year

Fact : fourteen deaths involved transport - eight of these were either run-over or struck by a moving vehicle, and the other six were vehicle overturns

There are principally two ways you could carry passengers, in the tractor or in the tractor-trailer.

Firstly, ask the question : is the tractor designed to take any other passengers? The clear and unequivocal answer to that question is : if there is no seat, then there can be no passenger.

In many of the large tractors there is a passenger jump-seat.In the tractors used in Amenity Horticulture, the tractor cabs are very small and only take the driver.

Over the years I have been asked if it is legal to carry passengers in the tractor-trailer. I have always given the advice that it is acceptable, as long as the trailer has sides and rear, the passenger is seated on the floor of the trailer and the passenger is not hanging out the rear.

In this I have not been wrong but… in March of this year the HSE brought out Information Sheet 36 called 'Carriage of passengers on farm trailers' This Guidance Note details exactly what you can or cannot do with passengers on farm trailers.

Basically as could be expected,

THE TRACTOR

THE TRAILER

The advice seems to centre on two types of passenger use on a tractor-trailer:

If the trailer is to be used for workers or members of the public e.g. labour gangs being taken out to fields or farm or park tours etc the seating and the rest are clearly specified.

If the trailer is used for workers on an exceptional basis, the same specification as above is expected but just to emphasise there are minimum standards

It is made clear that if the trailer is used to transport workers to the site and is subsequently loaded, alternative transport must be provided for the workers on the return journey.

You can now understand why, when I am now asked if it is legal to carry passengers in the tractor trailer, my answer has to be - only in exceptional circumstances or if you do, make sure you are following the guidance note.

Remember, it only takes a slip on a wet surface to cause an accident which will bring the inspector to your door - are you carrying your workers safely?


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