A practical, straightforward approach is going to flip road safety on its head at this year’s Midlands Machinery Show as it launches its new Transport and Towing Hub.
Introduced to the show’s programme across both days (8-9 November), visitors will have access to a comprehensive line-up of live demonstrations and expert-led workshops alongside experts in the know like the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC).
“At certain times of year, a combination of heavier agricultural traffic and public holiday traffic exacerbates the rate of incidents and accidents; collisions increase by some 52%, according to the NFU’s latest claims data,” says show organiser Elizabeth Halsall. “However, even outside of these periods, misdemeanours like overloaded trailers or inadequate brakes can have serious consequences for people both sides of the farm gate.
“Because of this, and following discussions with industry stakeholders we wanted to create a new feature that took a different and engaging approach to road safety.”
Across both days, LANTRA trainer and NAAC transport adviser Mike Sumner will lead four 30-minute workshops at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm, which will include:
• Brakes, speed, and weight: Are you road legal?
• Know your load: Practical tips for safe and secure loads on the road
• Width and escort details: Get the facts
• Be in the know with tractor licences and operators’ licences
The workshops have been developed with machinery, operators, and regulations equally in mind. “There are lot of grey areas for machinery operators,” says Mr Sumner, who runs land-based training service, One Ash Training.
“In the workshops we’ll drill down into the areas that problems arise the most,” he adds. “We don’t want this to be a reading of the rules, we want people to take away useful and practical information and the ‘how to’ that will benefit their business.”
Grey areas like what speed a tractor is built for against what it’s allowed to do – and how the speed and weight will affect stopping distances - will be discussed.
There will also be live demonstrations on securing loads and discussions around escorting wide loads, the nuances of young drivers, and how best to manage other equipment like mounted attachments and trailed appliances.
During harvest and busy periods everyone is keen to get on with the job and sometimes you’re really up against the clock with commitments, weather and other conditions,” says Mr Sumner. “It’s easy to rush or skip over the parts that seem to take up time – but that is when costly mistakes can happen.
“Outside of the operators’ control is the behaviour of other road users,” he adds. “However, you’re going to be in a much better position to safely respond to their actions, and any law enforcement requests, if you’re in the know.”
His message is clear: “Ultimately, the work needs to get done and we all want to get home safely.”
Richard Western will be supporting the workshops with demonstrations of a safe lock bale clamping system by Angus Western, managing director at Richard Westen, in the Technology ring. A hydraulic side-to-side roll over sheet fitted to a Suffolk trailer will be in situ on their stand.
“The demonstration will be a good opportunity for people to see how the safe lock bale system works under different configurations,” says sales adviser Amy Taylor. “Both systems have been designed to improve not only the safety of transporting loads, but also the risk to operators by removing much of the manual element of securing loads.”
She adds that the Midlands Machinery Show is a well timed and specialist event. “It’s a tailored event to the machinery person – be that a farmer, contractor or rural/agri-business. For us, it’s a great show and offers us and our customers, old and new, to see and speak in person which is always a great thing.”
Jill Hewitt, NAAC chief executive and Transport and Towing Hub collaborator, echoes Mr Sumners message on road safety, adding that the Association is delighted to be part of the new Hub at the Midlands Machinery Show to help contractors and farmers get to grips with legal requirements and to ensure everyone stays safe on and off-road.
“Alongside Mike Sumner’s workshops and the demonstrations, NAAC staff will be on hand, with a hot drink, to talk about issues impacting on the industry. The new Hub will be a fantastic one-stop resource for questions to be answered, advice to be sought and minds to be put at rest.”