Key tips on using a chainsaw, tractor safety and slurry safety management will feature at the upcoming Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) practical farm safety event.

According to Teagasc chainsaws cause 120 serious injuries every year and it’s not just cuts and lacerations, but serious hearing issues too.

The safety event will be held at Ballyhaise College on November 11 and is free of charge and farmers, agricultural contractors and farm building contractors are invited to attend.

Chairperson of the Ireland Branch of IOSH, Liam Howe stated that the event is being held to promote farm safety on an all-island basis with farmers from both the Republic and Northern Ireland invited to attend the event.

At the event, Keith Morrison, Chief Executive, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and Martin O’Halloran, CEO, Health and Safety Authority, will outline the new trends in farm safety.

The event will be organised mainly as an outdoor practical demonstration (each lasting approximately 35 minutes) where each participant will attend the following six demonstrations:

Chainsaw safety

This demonstration will be provided by Coillte training staff and will deal with safety features of chainsawing and a demonstration of tree felling.

Tractor safety

As 50% of farm deaths are associated with tractors and machinery, this demonstration will highlight the areas where such accidents occur.

Pesticide safety

Farmers now have a legal duty to obtain training in the use of pesticides and will have the duty to have sprayers tested from next year.

The practical aspects of these requirements will be outlined at the event.

Livestock safety

Livestock, particularly suckler cows are considered to have become more aggressive in recent years. A demonstration will take place of livestock handling facilities and practices.

Building safety

Considerable construction of farm buildings is set to take place as Irish agriculture expands. Safety in construction and electrical safety will be provided by Kilmoon Trading.

Slurry safety management

Slurry has the potential to kill through both drowning and gassing and this demonstration will show how such deaths can be prevented.

Principal of Ballyhaise College, John Kelly stated that the staff at Teagasc Ballyhaise College greatly welcome the opportunity to provide support for this IOSH-organised farm safety event.

“The provision of comprehensive training in occupational health and safety is a central component of all Teagasc training courses,” he said.

Some 41 people have died working in the agricultural sector in Ireland since the start of 2014. A further 33 farm workers were killed across the UK and Northern Ireland in 2014-15, the IOSH has stated.

In most instances, the tragedies were as a result of incidents which involved tractors or other farm vehicles and machinery. Other cases occurred while handling livestock or were caused by a worker becoming trapped or crushed, drowning or suffocating or falling from height.

It is against this backdrop that IOSH’s Ireland and Northern Ireland branches are inviting agricultural workers to attend the event on November 11.