June 19, 2019
Silage Pit Safety Concerns

As a member of the Farm Safety Partnership, PAC Ireland supports the Health and Safety Authority’s concern concerned at recent reports of overfilling of silage pits to excessive and dangerous heights, placing vehicle operators and others working at these pits, at risk of serious injury.

Both the Farmer and the Contractor have responsibility for safety during silage harvesting, as such, they should plan & agree safe operating procedures, specific to the farm, including the safe finishing height of individual pits/slabs before the silage harvesting commences.It is critically important that any free face of the finished silage in the pit or slab slope at no more than 45°.

There are very many variables involved in deciding a safe working height for machinery on any pit or slab. These include for example; the overall dimensions of the pit, particularly the width of the pit, the height, age & condition of any retaining walls, the type of silage, the moisture content of the silage, the machinery employed in loading &rolling the pit, indeed the competence, skill and experience of the loader operator, etc.

Because of these many variables,it is not possibleto give a specific or a general rule on the safe working height of machinery on silage pits or slabs. The safe working height of the pit or slab must be agreed on a case-by-case basis by carrying out a pit/slab specific risk assessment. The risk assessment should be carried out by the persons responsible for ensuring the safety of the operation, namely the contactor in consultation with the farmer, prior to commencing silage-harvesting activity.