November 16, 2020

Safety Minute

In January 2020 OHS investigated an incident involving a worker who was pinned under a bale. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe when moving, stacking and loading bales

Child Safety and Bales
  • Ensure children are not allowed play on top of stacked bales or use the stack as a play area/den/fort.
  • Keep children out of the work area during stacking and de-stacking work.
  • Do not allow children to ride on a stack of bales being carried on a trailer or on bale handling equipment.
  • Remove ladders to prevent children gaining access to bale stacks.
  • Children should not be allowed in the farmyard or fields where bales are being moved, handled or transported.
Safe Stacking
  • Chose a level, even and stable surface or well drained area to store bales; soft or uneven ground increases the risk of an incident.
  • Keep others away from the stacking/de-stacking area to prevent injury if a bale were to fall.
Round Bale Handling
  • Where possible, it is best to store round bales one high on their flat ends.
  • Do not stack more than 3 bales high; where the bales are not very dense or are soft, a maximum height of two bales is advised.
  • Stacking soft round bales on their ends is not recommended.
Square Bale Handling
  • Square bales should be stacked in an interlocking pattern to tie-in the bales with the row underneath.
  • The maximum height of a stack of square bales should be one and a half times the width of the base.
Removing Bales from the Stack
  • Remove bales from the upper row first; do not remove bales from the bottom or middle of the stack as it may lead to dislodgement and the risk of being crushed by a falling bale.
  • Be mindful some settlement of the remaining bales may occur after removal from the stack.
Transporting Bales using Tractors and Loaders
  • Equipment operators must ensure that their view is not obscured when feeding.
  • If you need to dismount from the tractor or loader transporting bales to carry out another task (i.e., to open a gate or remove plastic/twine from bales), ensure the hand brake is fully engaged, turn the engine off and remove the key.
  • Ensure your tractor, front end loaders or other equipment that is used to move bales are fitted with falling objects protection (FOPS) and roll over protection (ROPS).
Transporting Bales using Trailers and Truck Trailers
  • Trucks used to transport bales must not be overloaded.
  • Never allow bales to overhang the edges of the trailer or truck.
  • Secure the load with suitable straps and follow load securement procedures.
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