Farming in the 21st Century benefits from tailored inspections

Technology advances must be backed by maintenance and inspections of core machinery

FMIB Machinery inspectionIn an era of fast-paced technological advances in farming, it is now common place to see precision field mapping systems in place, or satellite data fed directly to fertiliser spinners, combine harvesters and other farm equipment.

Machinery manufacturers have developed advanced telematics systems which indicate directly to the workshop when a machine is due for service. This is now considered the norm and, in some cases, essential rather than the novel luxury it once was.

As welcome as these new innovations are, there are aspects of machinery maintenance that will never be replaced. This is certainly true of PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) and LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) inspections.

James Baimbridge, machinery inspection engineer within the engineering division of Farmers & Mercantile Insurance Brokers (FMIB), explains, “The PUWER and LOLER inspection can only be undertaken by an inspector with the relevant engineering qualification.

“When we inspect machines, we are not only inspecting the machines looking for issues that might compromise its operating performance or potentially lead to dangerous situations, but we are also creating a comprehensive service history of the machine which can be beneficial for a number of reasons.”

James continues, “You would never buy a second-hand car without first looking at its service history. When you are ready to upgrade your telehandler, your engineering certificates will provide all the information for potential buyers that you had maintained the machine, that it is in good, safe working order, and suitable for further service.”

From an insurance perspective, if the machine is stolen or involved in an accident, the reports provide invaluable evidence as to the general condition of the machine, the hours and any advisory issues that have been actioned, to help prove the true value of the machine.

By having PUWER and LOLER inspections on your machinery, workshop equipment and work platforms, you are complying to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations PUWER98 and LOLER98. It is a legal requirement to meet these regulations.

James concludes, “HSE WILL investigate incidents. Prosecution and fines will follow very swiftly if you are found at fault or negligent. It is our job to make sure this doesn’t happen.

“Most importantly, is the peace of mind you get by ensuring that you are doing everything in your power to ensure the safety of yourself, your staff and those people around you.”