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 balesChild 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.
Round Bale Handling
- 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.
Square 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.
Removing Bales from the Stack
- 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.
Transporting Bales using Tractors and Loaders
- 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 Trailers and Truck Trailers
- 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).
- 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.