UK livestock farmers have been warned to carry out regular checks on the bulk feed bins on their units for structural defects or corrosion.
The warning comes from the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) in the wake of a two incidents in the Netherlands where feed bins collapsed. One was a ‘near miss’ but the other caused the death of a delivery driver.
The fatality happened last September near Boxtel to the south of the country. A report from the Social Affairs Inspectorate states that the accident happened while the silo was being filled with feed. During this procedure, the silo suddenly collapsed, killing the vehicle driver who was under the structure at the time.
“Feed bins are familiar objects on livestock farms but can be holding tonnes of feed up in the air,” says the AIC feed sector head George Perrott. “Over time, these static pieces of equipment are just taken for granted. Corrosion or accidental damage can make them unsafe.
“It is good practice to routinely inspect feed bins, looking at signs of corrosion in metalwork, loose metalwork or cracks in welds. Also, should there be an accidental collision with a farm vehicle or delivery truck – always carry out a visual inspection for any damage that could weaken the supports.
“The tragic and catastrophic incidents in the Netherlands are a timely reminder of how important it is to pay attention to regular inspection of equipment,” Mr Perrott notes.