Insurers urge safe tractor checks

With the impact of the shortage of lorry drivers affecting harvest transport arrangements, a leading insurer has warned farmers that if they are forced to use their own tractors and trailers to cart and deliver grain, they should regularly check brakes and hitch mechanisms.

NFU Mutual issued the word of caution as the nation faces disruption to road transport because of a shortage of lorry drivers which is affecting deliveries to supermarkets, hospitality, the construction trade and many aspects of agriculture.

And the insurer has provided advice to help farmers make sure that tractors and trailers are correctly matched and maintenance schedules are in place to minimise the risk of accidents – while also recommending that all tractor drivers take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and that routes are chosen which avoid congested roads where possible.

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To help farmers keep safe, the Mutual is supporting the Tilly Your Trailer initiative, which enables farmers to get their trailers inspected and get a Tilly Pass which confirms that trailers are safe for road use and comply with safety legislation.

“Harvest is the toughest time of the year for arable farmers – and this year the nationwide shortage of lorry drivers is adding to the pressures,” said Gwyn Barlow of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd.

“Travelling across rough fields and through muddy gateways takes its toll on farm machinery so we are advising farmers to regularly check that brakes are working correctly, lights and indicators can be seen, and windows and mirrors are clean.”

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