Safety has always been a hot topic in agriculture. Regrettably, our industry continues to have the poorest safety record of any in the UK, with 20% of all workplace deaths attributed to the farming sector despite accounting for just 1% of the economy. So anything that contributes to safety awareness and reducing risk, especially around farm vehicles and machinery, is to be welcomed.
In an earlier blog we looked at some of the safety features and innovations built-in to the products that we supply. Now the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) has lent its weight to the drive for improved safety with the publication of an updated edition of their ‘Look Behind You’ guide to tractor-trailer braking. A PDF copy of the guide can be downloaded by following the link at the end of this article.
The guide is aimed at farmers, tractor drivers, mechanics and technicians – indeed anyone using, purchasing or maintaining tractors and trailers. It seeks to raise user awareness of what is needed from tractor-trailer braking systems, in order to obtain good performance and also to comply with the minimum legal requirements. It will also help users to make informed purchasing decisions and to recognise shortfalls in the braking systems of their current vehicles.
The AEA first published the guide some ten years ago in the wake of a spate of premature tractor brake failures linked to inadequate trailer brakes. A great deal has changed since then. Tractors, trailers and trailed implements are bigger, more tractors can now reach 50 km/h (30 mph) and pneumatic (air) trailer braking systems are more common. Certain UK Legislation has changed and new EU Braking Regulations for agricultural vehicles have arrived.
Whilst there have been significant improvements in tractor-trailer braking systems in the UK, there is still more that needs to be done. It is on this basis that the AEA Service Managers’ Group has revised and updated the ‘Look Behind You’ guide.
A comprehensive technical overview, the revised guide still provides the basic information but, importantly, it now also covers the increasingly complex braking systems found on modern tractors and trailers. The booklet provides the right level of information to raise awareness and highlight important features which, if addressed, will improve vehicle operation and enhance overall safety. Readers are also advised what maintenance activities may be performed On-Farm, following appropriate training, and where it is important to seek specialist help.
All in all, the ‘Look Behind You’ guide is a must-read for anyone responsible for buying, operating and maintaining tractor-trailer and tractor-trailed implement combinations. A PDF of the guide, which includes links to a number of informative video clips, can be downloaded below.