National Hay Safe Day

The 25th of October is National Hay Safe Day. Marking an important day in many agriculturalist calendars, especially Fodder Link’s.

National Hay Safe Day was created in 2010 by WA hay producer and AFIA secretary Suzanne Woods, after her father was involved in an on farm hay related accident the year prior.

In 2021 Australia’s agricultural industry saw 46 farm accidents that resulted in a fatality, and another 128 non-fatal injuries. During the first half of this year there were 20 fatal farm accidents and 57 non-fatal injuries. I think we can all agree that the reduction in farm accidents is great, but seeing the number and knowing that these accidents are still happening is frightening.

Here are a few safety guidelines for stacking, loading and unloading to keep in mind this season:

  • Before stacking bales, start with flat ground.
  • When stacking square bales, maximise the stability of the stack by stacking no higher than 1.5 times the shortest base dimension (e.g. if a stack is 4.8m wide (two large squares along the bottom), and 12m long (10 large squares), a safe height is 1.5 x 4.8m meaning you can safely stack to 7.2m).
  • When stacking round bales, don’t stack more than 4 high and chocked, to prevent unwanted movement.
  • Don’t overload trucks. The height and weight of the total load should be taken into account prior to loading.
  • Load bales on trucks that allows for safe travel and unloading at the other end.
  • Drive safely always.
  • Know farm and feedlot exclusion zones, and remain outside of them during loading and unloading. The safest place is in the truck or at the front corner of the truck on the same side as the loader.
  • Don’t let kids play on or around hay stacks.