As harvest season nears, we’re reminding farmers, farm workers and land owners how to stay safe at private level crossings, to target a rise in incidents.
New figures reveal that incidents at level crossings rise during harvest season, as farmers rush to gather their crops before the good weather runs out. Last harvest season saw the most level crossing incidents ever recorded over the last four years, and almost 300 more incidents than the previous year.
Of the incidents recorded, four of the top seven issues identified at level crossings involved private user-worked crossings, which are often used by the farming community.
While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway.
The new S.A.F.E.R campaign will help to reinforce the safety rules around using private level crossings. Farmers will be provided with posters, leaflets and a video that will enable them to have conversations with their families and workers to help them safely navigate level crossings.
We do see a rise in the level of incidents involving farmers at user worked level crossings during the harvest season and we hope by working closely with the National Farmers’ Union we can help to keep farmers safe.
By following a few simple rules people can learn how to cross them safely and with confidence. We hope this will help to prevent last year’s increase in incidents at farm level crossings from becoming a trend.
As well as the obvious safety risks for the farmer and people on the train, there can be prosecutions. One farmworker was jailed for 10 months after a collision with a train in 2016 when he didn’t follow the instructions at a farm crossing.