DVD launch aims to promote mart safety

The continuing upward trend in the number and severity of accidents in marts is cause for serious safety concern, according to various stakeholders.

With action required, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), FBD Insurance and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have produced a safe management of marts training video.

It is hoped that this DVD will prove to be a very valuable training aid for mart employees and management.

In addition to the video, a short safety advertisement has been produced. It is planned that this video will be played in canteens and on other screens around marts.

Speaking at the launch, FBD risk manager Ciaran Roche said: “Livestock marts form a central part of the Irish farming community.

“We have worked very closely with the HSA and ICOS to develop an online risk assessment tool specifically designed for marts. This tool is available on the HSA’s ‘BeSmart‘ page, along with a ‘Voluntary Code of Practice for Safe Mart Management’.

If utilised, these tools aim to make Irish marts a safer place.

Roache added: “FBD recognises the mart’s role in the success of Ireland’s agri-sector and is committed to continue offering insurance cover to the industry.”

‘The best and safest in Europe’

The launch of the new DVD was welcomed by Ray Doyle, ICOS’s livestock and environmental services executive.

“This new DVD will greatly enhance the health and safety of drovers and mart users in livestock marts, and as a consequence reduce animal welfare challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pat Griffin – senior inspector with the HSA – outlined that the way to “safeguard the vital business done in marts on a weekly basis is to make Irish marts the best and safest in Europe“.

Marts must become exemplars of best practice in livestock handling – where farmers see and learn the very best techniques in handling, moving and controlling livestock.

He also spoke about how Ireland are European leaders in producing quality food and how our safety standards must also be risen to this level.

Griffin added that the DVD will be an invaluable learning tool for all people working with livestock.

Key components

The use of the ‘Voluntary Code of Practice for Safe Mart Management’ ultimately aims to decrease the number and severity of mart accidents.

The main factors of the code of practice include:
  • A safety officer must be appointed. His or her role will be to manage safety on mart days;
  • All employees must be provided with mart identification jackets and the wearing of these jackets must be enforced;
  • Members of the public must not be allowed access to the penning and passageways beyond the unloading/loading bay, other than to place lot numbers on their livestock in the livestock identification race. This will only be allowed where direct access to the livestock identification race is provided without interaction with livestock;
  • Catwalks and livestock viewing areas must be provided to prevent members of the public from accessing livestock penning and passageways;
  • Prohibition signage must also be erected, so as to clearly identify areas that members of the public are not allowed access to;
  • All livestock leaving the mart must be taken from the holding pen and driven to the loading bay by mart employees;
  • The loading of livestock must be carried out by – and in the supervision of – a mart employee and the owner/buyer of the livestock.