How is software improving machinery maintenance in the UK?
When it comes to digitising farm records, one of the best places to start is your machinery and farm vehicles. When you purchase that new piece of machinery, you want to ensure it is well maintained, in turn, protecting your investment. There are plenty of reasons why daily inspections of agricultural machinery is important, it doesn’t just keep your workers safe, it is also part of your obligation as an employer. UK farmers must ensure machinery is in safe operating conditions.
Why is it important to keep farm machinery maintenance up to date?
Farm machinery, including tractors and augers are some of the most dangerous hazards on a farm. A defective and ill maintained piece of plant has the potential to endanger lives and cause a serious incident. After a serious incident, or if the worse was to occur on your farm, a HSE inspector will want to determine how something could have happened. They will want to see your maintenance records which will include your logbook, maintenance schedule and pre-operational safety checklists.
Did you know that part of the Safe use of work equipment, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 5, “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. Every employer shall ensure that where any machinery has a maintenance log, the log is kept up to date.”
It isn’t just maintenance and logbooks that must be kept. According to Regulation 6, “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected— (a) at suitable intervals; and (b) each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained, and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time. (3) Every employer shall ensure that the result of an inspection made under this regulation is recorded and kept until the next inspection under this regulation is recorded.”
What does that mean for UK farmers?
This means you must be maintaining your vehicles, including regularly servicing and repairs, as well as your workers performing daily inspections before they use your machinery and equipment. If a hazard or damage is identified, you are required to address it/ fix it in a timely manner.
A paper-based record keeping system provides a lot of opportunity for error. The logbook that’s always in your cab could be misplaced or damaged. You can’t set reminders or alerts that link directly to your inventory with its full history. If you can’t find the paperwork, how do you provide evidence of your compliance?
Safe Ag Systems has provided a range of useful features within its Maintenance Module to provide you with a new way to manage machinery records. Simplifying machinery maintenance and record keeping, our Maintenance Module is accessible via the desktop and mobile app. This product includes pre-operational safety checklists, machinery maintenance records and logs, Risk Assessments to help you proactively identify risks or hazards as well as assess mechanical risks prior to purchase, the task manager and tagout functionality.
Pre-operational checklists ensure you are checking the right details, including oil levels, fluid leaks, condition of wheels/tracks and general wear and tear. The checklist then guides the operator through a driving inspection, checking steering, brakes and finally finishing with attachments and identifying if the machinery is safe/unsafe for use.
What are the key benefits of a digital logbook?
You’ve heard the saying prevention is better than the cure. Machinery maintenance is much the same. When you perform maintenance and regularly service your machinery, you are enabling it to run at full capacity. Reducing the risk of down-time during peak seasons. When you perform daily checks, you are more likely to capture an issue before it becomes a costly repair job. Based on your digital machinery records, you can start to identify patterns in your repair records and maintenance schedule. Save your agribusiness money by decreasing the output costs on machinery and plant equipment when you can detect additional expenditure. Safe Ag Systems gives you access to over 100 pre-operational checklist templates, allowing you to access all of your machinery records with quick scan QR codes.
Improved resale value
Machinery maintenance records assist with warranty claims as well as buyer confidence when it comes time to sell your asset. Accurate service history can preserve your resale value, a well-maintained farm vehicle will depreciate less. Service history is a very important piece of the puzzle when you are on the search for interested buyers. It gives the new owner piece of mind that the machine has been looked after to the best of their knowledge, helping you achieve maximum value. With Safe Ag Systems mechanics, workers and contractors can update machinery records each time they perform a pre-operational inspection, routine maintenance or when it is serviced. With the mobile app, all the information they need is right at their fingertips. Prolong the life of your assets and capture machinery hours.
Workplace health and safety
“They put up a report on the big screen and looked through it… Then they said, ‘we are not buying that type or brand of machine again’. The maintenance costs were through the roof. (Because of that) they had made a business decision around safety without even knowing that.” - Hewitt Cattle Australia.
With digital machinery records, promote best practice and a safe working environment, maintain worker accountability when using machinery. Provide them with real-time information regarding each piece of machinery, including procedures, hours, and tasks, the Safe Ag Systems functionality can also alert workers if a piece of machinery has been tagged out and is unsafe to use.
Disclaimer: Content on this website may be of relevance to users outside of UK, but content links and examples are specific to UK. Please check with your local authority for your country and industry requirements.
Originally published 21 December, 2021.