HC Deb 20 June 1977 vol 933 cc330-2W
Mr. Geraint Howells

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what arrangements have been made by his Department to ensure that farmers in Wales are aware of the 1st September 1977 deadline for the fitting of safety cabs to tractors under the Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) Regulations 1967; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what arrangements his Department has made to ensure that fanners are aware of the 1st September 1977 deadline for the fitting of safety cabs to tractors under the Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) Regulations 1967; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Grant

The Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) Regulations 1967 which were made by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Scotland required, among other things, that new tractors sold or hired into agriculture as from 1st September 1970 be fitted with an approved safety cab and that employers ensure that such tractors be fitted with an approved cab when driven by an agricultural worker during the course of his employment. They further required that as from 1st September 1977 the latter provision be also applied to tractors sold into agriculture before 1st September 1970.

These provisions are contained in the Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) Regulations 1974, which revoked and consolidated the 1967 and 1973 regulations. These regulations were amended in 1976 following the transfer of responsibility for health and safety in agriculture from Agriculture Ministers to the Health and Safety Commission.

Since the regulations were made in 1967 there has been a continuous publicity campaign in respect of the value of approved safety cabs in saving lives and the importance of fitting cabs as early as possible to pre-1970 tractors. Various measures have been taken to publicise the provisions of the regulations.

Several leaflets have been issued dealing with the fitting of approved cabs to tractors driven by agricultural workers which include specific reference to the requirement effective from 1st September 1977. In 1974 an illustrated leaflet on this particular point was distributed to all farmers with the MAFF census form.

The Farm Safety Booklet, introduced in 1964, was revised in 1969 to include the provisions of the Tractor Cab Regulations and since then 145,000 copies have been distributed. This booklet and some of these leaflets were also produced in a Welsh language version.

There have been safety exhibits at major agricultural shows during the period 1971–76 highlighting the particular requirement coming into effect on 1st September 1977. In both 1974 and 1976 there were three Press notices issued on this topic.

Agricultural organisations such as the NFU, RoSPA, etc., have readily cooperated in publicising the regulations in their circulars to members and in their journals. The agricultural Press has also helped to publicise material. The agricultural machinery manufacturers and dealers have played their part in publicising the requirement among the farming community.

Agricultural inspectors during visits of inspection have drawn the notice of farmers to the provision and have taken the opportunity at talks to organisations such as National Farmers' Union, National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers, Young Farmers' Clubs and others to publicise the matter.

The agricultural machinery Press has co-operated in producing detailed information on the availability of cabs and frames which will be published in forthcoming issues of trade journals coinciding with the mounting of a major exhibit by the Health and Safety Executive at the Royal Show in early July.

Any employer who has not yet acted should lose no time in ordering an approved safety cab for fitting to tractors driven by his workers.