How to keep bulk fertiliser deliveries safe

Bulk fertiliser deliveries can cause accidents and near misses. Overhead obstacles, unsafe access, and dumped product are potential hazards.

Fertiliser safety is everyone’s responsibility.  The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will soon be amended to reflect this. The changes mean that every party in the supply chain – not just the driver – has a duty to ensure safety.

How to organise a smooth bulk delivery

For growers, this means making sure truck access, unloading, and cleaning activities are safe. When organising a bulk delivery think about:

Access:

  • Can farm roads handle heavy trucks?
  • Are there creek crossings, and are they safe for a truck?
  • Are there any low branches or powerlines that might be in the way of a 4.3 m high truck?
  • Make sure you inform the delivery driver of any concerns.

Unloading:

  • Unload on flat ground away from trees and powerlines.
  • Make sure people and animals are clear of the tipper.
  • Don’t unload near watercourses, even if they are dry.
  • Make sure silos are strong enough to hold the fertiliser. Most fertilisers weigh more than the same volume of grain.

Cleaning

Most fertilizer depots have an area to clean out trucks. However, it is best if the driver cleans the truck out on farm before leaving. This helps prevent product being dumped on the roadside and cross contamination of the next load.

About 15% of Australian cereal or canola crops use fungicide treated fertilizer. Blending fungicide with fertiliser can make it easier to apply. After carrying chemically treated fertilisers trucks need to be washed out with a food grade cleaning product, particularly if the truck will then carry grain. When treated fertiliser is delivered, growers should provide a suitable wash down area on farm.

 For a more comprehensive list see the Fertcare® guidelines on unloading bulk solid fertilizer on farm.

More

How to protect your grain – prevent contamination

Fertiliser handling code of practice

Truck washing fact sheet

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator – changes to chain of responsibility

Photo: Silo collapse – Jeff Kraak

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