Entrepreneurs urged to ‘immediately fire’ drivers using smartphones while driving

Contractors have been urged to ‘immediately fire’ any drivers found using smart phones to record work-related videos taken from the tractor seat for use on social media platforms as concern mounts. the trend of this silage season.

The Farm and Forestry Entrepreneurs Association of Ireland (FCI) called on all entrepreneurs to take a ‘zero tolerance approach’ where drivers find themselves sharing ‘TIC Tac type “tractor movement videos on Facebook and other sites when they are working, warning that this is a “growing problem”, mainly among young tractor drivers in contract fleets.

The FCI has stated that those who participate in such activities “are breaking the law and putting their lives and the lives of other road users in danger” and that any driver engaging in such behavior “is liable to three penalty points and may be forced to surrender his license. “.

Last summer, hundreds of videos and images emerged on social media, clearly captured by tractor drivers, and often with footage of extremely dangerous activities.

Mike Moroney FCI, CEO of FCI, said that to “put safety first” all entrepreneurs should use Bluetooth systems if it is essential for them to use their mobile phone while operating machinery.

“Preventing the use of smartphones to create videos will be a significant management issue for many entrepreneurs during the 2021 silage season.

“Entrepreneurs, as ‘team leaders’, should sit down with their teams in a ‘toolbox discussion’ before the silage harvest. They must give clear indications on what is acceptable and what is not in terms of safety and in particular on the use of mobile phones.

“We are aware that videos posted on various social media appear to portray the operations of contractors during the silage harvest as a form of ‘entertainment’.

“This behavior undermines the seriousness and operational risks associated with the ability to use modern high-performance machinery in agricultural contract operations. Harvesting silage is serious business. It works around high efficiency machines that demand the operators’ full concentration at all times. “

Stressing the need to install hands-free kits on all tractors, Mr Moroney said frankly: “We urge contractors to immediately fire all drivers who use their smartphones to record and post professional videos taken from the seat of the tractor, to social media.

“This behavior endangers themselves, other road users and ultimately puts the future of the outsourcing business at risk, while dramatically increasing insurance claims.

“There are a number of aspects to the problem. Some videos only describe good operations, while others show a lack of driving skills and safety awareness. Others are clearly a very dangerous and absurdly tempting fate. All of them are dangerous.

“The FCI recommends a zero tolerance approach where drivers who behave in this manner should be removed from the contractor’s team with immediate effect.”

‘Management strategy’

During the last week, the association sent a message to more than 1,200 entrepreneurs on its database and via its WhatsApp groups and e-mail system, to encourage them to take strong action to resolve this problem.

Mr Moroney pointed out that there are “new technological options” in the market to block the use of smartphones in tractor cabs and that FCI has worked with suppliers to establish “a practical blocking system” for them. contracted tractors with the aim of developing an affordable and affordable system. seasonal solution.

“Make sure you have an up-to-date safety declaration that it is signed by all employees on the team.

“Some entrepreneurs have developed management strategies, including fines to drivers for video display, while others keep smartphones in the yard and provide drivers with two-way tractor radios for efficient team communications and more secure.

“All contractors must meet the safety challenge through clear direction and the responsibility of team leadership,” he concluded.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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