Engineering Inspections

Safety first

Farm Safey - Forklift in operation

You can’t put a price on Farm Safety

James Baimbridge

Written by James Baimbridge

People tend to think of farm safety as something that’s going to cost a lot of time and money, but what they don’t think about is the true cost to them of an accident. In our view it is important that we work with farmers to ensure that they comply with PUWER and LOLER legislation. This will help to reduce the number of fatal accidents in an industry that, together with forestry, is regarded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as one of the riskiest in which to work. One in a hundred people (employed or self-employed) work in agriculture, however it accounts for one in five fatal injuries to its workers.

Farm Safey - Forklift in operationAlthough lifting equipment is not to blame for all farm fatalities, machinery and lifting equipment caused 20 deaths from 1995 to 2004; trucks and motor vehicles 12 and grain bins and wagons 11.

By ensuring your machinery has a valid PUWER and LOLER inspection certificate you are demonstrating to the HSE that you are committed to improving farm safety and safeguarding yourself and your staff.

The costs of a serious accident are not only financial; there are also the personal costs and the impact on people’s lives of a serious injury.

Our inspections will provide you with evidence that a thorough examination of your machine has been carried out and any areas of concern will be detailed in our report to you.

To speak to an engineer call 01604 782782 and ask for James or Keith

One of the factors that has contributed to a high number of farm-related injuries and deaths in recent years is the growing number of adults who take up farming as a hobby and who do not have sufficient experience of driving or operating agricultural vehicles/machinery.

It is important to comply with all the safety standards not just PUWER and LOLER– a half-hearted attempted won’t cut it.

Another risk group are children and young people. It’s not unusual for young farmers to find themselves driving the oldest equipment. Although employers often consider what an inexperienced youth might do to the tractor, they don’t think about what the tractor might do to the youth. This group also makes up a large percentage of temporary seasonal labour. Meaning they are working with unfamiliar equipment and often for long periods at a time. This can lead to fatigue and slips in concentration which can have dire consequences. HSE regulations states that whether you are self-employed, an employee, an owner operator or smallholder, any item of lifting machinery used on-farm should be inspected by a competent person.

For instance, the best rollover protective structure in the world won’t help you if you’re not wearing a seat belt. And it only takes a few seconds out of the day to take a seat belt on and off, even if you have to do it several times.

It might cost a little more in time, a little more in money but the peace of mind you gain can be invaluable.


The Farmer Article

Preparing machines for inspection (PUWER / LOLER)

The Farmer ArticleQ How can I prepare my loader for its PUWER and LOLER Engineering inspection?

Written by: James Baimbridge, Farmers & Mercantile. First published in The Farmer, June 2015

A PUWER98 and LOLER98 are compulsory Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations which help to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in agricultural incidents. They state that the owner of any lifting equipment should have the machine inspected regularly, this usually means annually except in the case of work platforms and the machine used to lift it which require inspections every six months, by a suitably qualified, independent person.

An engineering inspection should not interfere with your farming practice and can be arranged to be undertaken at a time of year that is convenient for you. By ensuring that your machine is in a well maintained condition you will not only save yourself from having a large repair bill, but also you will be ensuring that you comply with PUWER and LOLER Regulations.

The following are some common, and very easily rectifiable, problems that you can check before the inspector arrives to ensure a successful inspection.

  • The Safe Load Indicator (SLI) is vital for showing the variable nature of the load when extending or retracting the boom. It is highly dangerous if the SLI is inoperative, and it would lead to an instant fail of an engineering inspection. If the SLI on your machine is not working check the fuses, Check for loose connections especially those to the sensor. Has the SLI been calibrated recently?
  • Check all hydraulic hoses for signs of wear and perishing especially around the headstock of the boom and the hoses to the main lift rams. The hoses that are often forgotten are those connected to the pickup hitch.
  • As with a car MOT it is essential that all lights including flashing beacon are in working order. Change blubs and check fuses. Replace light clusters when they are damaged, don’t wait until the day before the inspection is due.
  • If you can move the headstock from side to side when the boom is full extended then the boom wear pads may need adjusting. This is easily achieved on most popular models of telescopic handler and will save you the cost of replacing the pads prematurely.
  • Most machines have both a reversing light and a reversing bleeper, but not all. It is essential that reversing signals are working correctly to warn any person in close proximity to the moving vehicle. If your loader has both signals fitted, they both need to be in good working order.
  • As with any vehicle, the condition of the tyres is important. Weaknesses in the tyres can lead to catastrophic consequences if the machine was to roll over as a result of a blow out. Replace any tyres that are showing any deep gouges or cuts.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list and there may be issues with your machine that may not be visible or relate to other components that may require professional attention.

Losing your machine during a busy period is bad enough, but being prosecuted because you choose not to have your machine tested can cause unnecessary stress and financial strain.

James Baimbridge writes about Puwer & Loler

Do I Need a LOLER and PUWER test on my loader?

James Baimbridge writes about Puwer & Loler

James Baimbridge writes about Puwer & Loler in The Farmer, Shropshire Star.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) anyone who owns lifting equipment at their place of work, whether on a building site, on the side of the road or at a farm, are liable for prosecution if they do not have evidence of a thorough examination being carried out on the equipment by an independent inspector.

The formal legal requirement for “Thorough Examination” of lifting equipment is set out in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (known as LOLER 98).

However, these rules only apply to the machine’s lifting mechanism – and under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (known as PUWER 98), an employer also has a duty to perform regular “inspections”, and ensure work equipment remains safe to use. In practice, an examination that only covers LOLER could therefore leave the machine’s owner liable to HSE enforcement under PUWER 98 rules. It is also common sense that a vehicle that has not had its brakes, steering or structural integrity checked can hardly be said to be safe. An examination is required to be carried out at regular intervals, in most cases every twelve months.

At this time of the year every body is busy on the farm maintaining roofs and gutters or carrying out general maintenance in buildings. Are you taking the correct precautions when carrying out these tasks by using a mancage or work platform? LOLER states that any equipment used to lift people must be inspected every six months. This includes the machine used to lift the platform along with the accessory itself.

This article was written by James Baimbridge and first published in The Farmer, Shropshire Star,  March 2015

If you are in the market for a new loader why not take a trip to The Farmers Weekly Farm Handling Experience at Stoneleigh on the 22nd-23rd April. We are sponsoring this unique event, which will allow you to test drive all the latest machines from the top manufacturers. If you are interested go to to book your slot.

Farmers Weekly launch the Farm Handling Experience Event

Farmers Weekly Launch Event


Farmers Weekly launch the Farm Handling Experience Event

It was a bold move when Farmers & Mercantile took the decision to create an engineering inspection division. “Having succeeded in the farm insurance market we were confident that we understood what farmers wanted: good specialist advice and service. 19 years young and having gained a reputation for reliability and integrity, F&M identified an area where there was real dissatisfaction amongst farmers and in the knowledge that we could do better, we set up our own engineering division” says founding Director Nigel Wellings. Today the division provides a national inspection service with excellent feedback. “Farmers are grateful to have our inspectors arrive on farm and to complete the work without fuss and without their assistance. It amazes us that other firms expect the farmer or a member of their staff to operate the machinery for the inspector” comments Keith Short, divisional manager.

On-farm inspector James Baimbridge says “independent inspections are beneficial to clients; the independent element ensures that they do not have the same person servicing and inspecting the machine, thereby eliminating any conflict of interest when failings or recommendations are made.”

To book your test drive – visit

F&M message

We want to help farmers fully understand their responsibilities with regard to Puwer and Loler. There’s a raft of legislation that surrounds this area of Health & Safety and it’s not always clear. Complying with the regulations bodes well for our clients; it proves that their attitude to risk management is professional and if there is an accident on the farm a valid certificate will be of importance. We want to support our farmers in avoiding prosecution should the Health & Safety Exec decide to investigate post-incident.

Why have we chosen to sponsor this new and unique event?

The common sense approach this event is aiming to achieve and what we are already doing, in our view creates great synergy. To us the farm handling event is about convenience, practicality and has a no nonsense approach. We are proud to be a part of this hands-on experience.

  • We are a leading inspection company specialising in agricultural LOLER & PUWER inspections
  • We provide nationwide coverage
  • We offer a professional and efficient service which ties in with this revolutionary event
  • The event will offer the full lifting equipment package

Visitor benefits

  • Meet the inspection team
  • Value for money and efficient use of time
  • Test drive and choose a machine and schedule its inspection for the following year
  • Book inspections for additional machines and compressors

What visitors can expect to learn from F&M’s presence at the event

  • What the HSE regulations state and how they apply to farm machinery
  • What inspectors are looking for
  • What can make a machine fail
  • Why it is important to have valid certificates

What visitors can talk to us about

  • Consequences of not having certificates
  • Advice on workshop/farm-made man platforms
  • Added benefits that we offer – comprehensive report and office backup

LOLER and PUWER Requirements: Where You Stand

MerloIt is a requirement of the Health and Safety Executive that whether you are self-employed, an employee, an owner operator or smallholder, any item of lifting machinery used on-farm should be inspected by a competent person to comply with the following standards:-

LOLER98 Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations which includes the condition of the lift rams (including safety check valves), Tilt/crowd ram, Telescopic ram, hydraulic hoses, safe load indicator, the boom, pins and bushes and boom wear pads.

PUWER98 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations which includes the condition of the tyres, footbrake and handbrake operation, steering, cab and/or safety frame, and chassis.

LOLER inspections are a vital part of your Landowner obligations. Some common misconceptions that our inspectors hear regularly regarding LOLER and PUWER requirements include;

  1. “Only people I employ drive it”
  2. “Only I drive it”
  3. “I am changing the machine soon so I don’t need to get it inspected”
  4. “My Public Liability insurance is suitable cover”
  5. “ It doesn’t go on the road”
  6. “It had an inspection certificate when I bought it 2 years ago” (needs to be inspected annually)

What our engineering inspector’s response is when asked why it should be done;

  • Good Housekeeping
  • Peace of mind
  • Legal requirement
  • Inspections aim to ensure that your lifting equipment complies with all PUWER and LOLER HSE standards, which have been mandatory since 1998
  • Machine Maintenance/ MOT
  • You receive a comprehensive report detailing any preventative measures that could be carried out to reduce not only the risk of serious injury, but also potentially costly repairs.
  • Encourage a proactive rather than a reactive approach
  • Cost effective – the approximate cost for a loader and air receiver is £165 plus VAT. This is less than the cost of your Farmers’ Weekly Subscription and considerably less than a fine from the HSE.
  • If the HSE is notified of any accident on the farm they will check to see what certificates are in place regardless, even if the loader or air vessel were not involved.
  • Unwise risk taking is an underlying problem within the industry and it can have devastating effects for those involved and their families.
  • However much experience you have had with lifting equipment accidents can still happen, especially those involving machinery failures.

A thorough inspection of your lifting machinery can be likened to an MOT and needs to be carried out annually. Important to note however is that any item of plant that lifts people, such as a man platform attachment, should be inspected at 6 monthly intervals along with the machine it is used on.

We emphasise that the inspection needs to be thorough and carried out by an independent engineer. There is no advantage or disadvantage to our engineers finding fault with a machine, hence the report that you receive is unbiased and detailed.
It is important that we work with, not against, farmers to comply with legislation. In most cases where signs of wear are found our recommendations will lead to a much lower repair bill than if the fault goes undetected. For example if play is found in the machines’ carriage pins it may simply require a replacement bush, whereas if left undetected, the pin will require replacement as well.

More farmers are being asked by the HSE to produce valid inspection certificates even where the reason for the HSE visit does not originate with the machinery. We receive phone calls from farmers saying that they’ve been given an opportunity to comply or be fined. Whilst you no doubt hold insurance to protect you against an accident on-farm, your insurance will not protect you against a prosecution or fine. For urgent requests if you have been visited by the HSE, we will escalate the inspections.

If you are an employer or self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or you have control of the use of lifting equipment, then the Regulations will apply to you.

This list will help you identify equipment covered by the Regulation;

  • Telescopic handlers
  • Rough terrain, counter-balance and Mounty forklift trucks
  • Skid steer loaders
  • 360 excavators including mini diggers
  • Backhoe loaders
  • Loading shovels
  • Cranes to include lorry mounted and 3 point linkage mounted big bag cranes
  • Timber forwarders
  • Access/Work platforms including man platform attachments used on telehandlers, scissor lifts, etc
  • Overhead workshop gantries
  • Electric and manual chain lift hoists
  • Lifting slings and lifting chains
  • Vehicle workshop lifts
  • Hydraulic bottle and trolley jacks
  • Engine workshop hoists

If you are in doubt please do contact us – call us on 01604 782782 or email to