HSE seeks to allay fears over tractor use limit

Older tractor - image: Leonora Enking
Older tractor - image: Leonora Enking

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations, which come into force in agriculture in July next year, are unlikely to limit most commercial tractor use, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

Responding to reports that use of older tractors may be limited to as little as 30 minutes at a time, it said: "Our own research, using machines manufactured between 2001 and 2005, shows that few on-farm activities exceed the exposure limits during an average working day."

It added: "The regulations should not require significant changes to established working practices, [and] we would not expect the regulations to lead farmers to replace serviceable equipment earlier than they would otherwise have wanted to."

It will continue to take "a commonsense and proportionate approach" to the whole-body vibration (WBV) issue, it added.

Based on an EU directive, legal WBV limits were introduced in 2005 but farm machinery built before 2007 was granted an exemption until next year.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon had earlier said: "If these rules are implemented and enforced without flexibility for farmers, we could end up with a situation where some people will not be able to plough their fields. This would be an utterly ludicrous state of affairs." 


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