Thats a good idea? Farm Safety Competitions (One closes on 30 June)

25 June 2015

Have you ever seen something ‘home-made’ and thought ‘That’s a good idea, it’s so simple”, or come up with one yourself which reduces the risk to safety or health from work activities? Or do you know anyone who has, and would like to share it?

Practical Farm Ideas Competition

This is the principle of a competition being run by the journal Practical Farm Ideas, the prize being all issues published over the past 24 years. 

To enter the competition, you must answer the question:  "I think farming could be made safer if:......"  [in fewer than 100 words]. Examples suggested by the journal include: how tractors and other machines are controlled; the training and regulation of farm work; footpaths and the public; the way the HSE operates, the dangers to children...  or anything else.

The last issue included nine safety related ideas, including a tote bag handler which keeps bags open for easy loading; a hand cranked baler PTO turner; a trailer light protective cover; a beacon for ATVs (one of their most popular safety idea, and a baler unblocker using a simple corkscrew device.

Hundreds of ideas to make jobs easier, quicker, and sometimes safer have featured in the journal over the years.  Most have been developed and built in farm workshops, by people carrying out the tasks themselves. 

Whilst we cannot ‘endorse’ any of these ideas - and it is fair to say that some have raised a few eyebrows over the years [especially those of highly trained Safety Inspectors!] – their principles are often sound.

Mike Donovan, the editor of Practical Farm Ideas, supports the Farm Safety Partnership and calls on all involved to “keep up the excellent work”, and added “it is appreciated by all who have learned to keep safe in farming”.

For the rules and to enter, see Practical Farm Ideas Competition but be quick as the closing date is 30 June 2015. [Sorry, but we have only just become aware of this.]

IAgrE Safety Competitions

The Institution of Ag Engineers (IAgrE) – another signatory and supporter of the Farm Safety Partnership – has for some years run an annual competition for student projects which deliver or demonstrate improvements in safety or health. This award was established to encourage and recognise innovation in safe design or operation of equipment and processes by students studying agricultural engineering or subjects related to the application of engineering and technology to the landbased sector.

The winners have traditionally been announced at the LAMMA Show.  The winning student this year was Owen Doran (who completed his Engineering degree at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, in Co. Kerry, Ireland) for his project on a ‘Modulating Trailer Brake System’. Previous winners have not necessarily been studying for a degree though – this competition is open to students on any relevant course. 

College Tutors are invited to identify potential topics and encourage students to develop ideas, eg to solve the topical and priority issues highlighted on the IAgrE’s new “Health and Safety Technical Group’s” webpage, the IOSH Rural Industries Group news pages or the Farm Safety Partnership’s website.

IAgrE have extended this approach and their support by announcing an interesting new ‘Safety’ competition at LAMMA this year.

Working in partnership with SSAB (the Nordic and US-based steel company) and Farmers Guardian, this prize will be awarded to “an innovation, product or practice which promotes best practice in promoting safety and can demonstrate clear benefits”

This could relate for example to new design features, lighter products, simplified production, longer life time, improved performance or beneficial environmental effects.  It also covers methods and tools.

This annual award will be judged by a panel of eminent agricultural engineering specialists and is open to any company, institution, organisation or individual.  The prize will comprise of a statuette, £300 and an invitation to visit SSAB in Sweden.

Launching their initiative, Alastair Taylor (CEO of IAgrE) said, “Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the UK with deaths and many serious injuries and cases of ill health occurring frequently across the landbased sector and the incident rates show no sign of reducing.  At IAgrE we are committed to help the industry improve this and believe this new award is a way of raising and promoting a healthy and safe agricultural industry.”

Conditions for entry

A product or a tool must have been produced as a prototype or be in production, and suitable for serial production, or a method must have been tested and documented for use in serial production.  There are no time limits within which the product or method must be evolved or developed.

Entries for this Award should be submitted by 15 November and should include:

  • a description of the product, tool or method, preferably accompanied by a technical drawing, sketch or photograph(s).
  • particulars of the material used and, where applicable, the material used previously.
  • if a product, a description of provable benefits or provable usefulness derived from material (used in) the proposed product/tool, compared to alternative material.
  • If a method or tool, a description of the benefits offered when using this particular method/tool.

For further details about the competition see the IAgrE press release or for entries contact IAgrE at

Any other bright ideas?

It would be good to encourage other companies and organisations involved in running competitions, eg at local or national Shows, to establish a ‘Safety Innovations’ category.  If you have any influence on such competitions, or know or meet someone who does (eg when visiting events this summer), please let RIG’s Vice-Chair Alan Plom (also a Board member of the Farm Safety Partnership and Chair of the FSP’s Machinery Safety Group) know, via email.

Thank you.