Machinery and livestock threats targeted by Farm Safety Live

This year’s Farm Safety Live event will be centred around four key aspects.

These will include: livestock handling; quad bike operation; working from heights; and tractor and PTO operation.

Farm Relief Services (FRS) Training, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and FBD Insurance have revealed that the event – titled Farm Safety Live – will be officially opened by MEP and First Vice President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness.

The event will take place at the Tullamore Show on Sunday, August 12, at 11:00 am.

Organisers want people to go home from the show with at least one farm safety tip to apply on their home farm.

Each year the farm safety event, which is entering its fifth year, brings something different; this year the focus is on giving smarter tips through the live and interactive demonstrations that can be brought home and smartly implemented.

Accidents

The overall fatality statistics in farming have not been improving, with the main culprits stemming from machinery, tractors, vehicles and livestock – with the young and elderly proving to be the main victims.

McGuinness outlined that the number of accidents on farms resulting in deaths and serious injury in Ireland is unacceptably high, saying: “Reports of farm accidents involving children, men and women are all too frequent.

What lies behind each statistic is a farming family devastated and left to live with the aftermath on the very farm where the accident took place.

McGuinness believes that initiatives to improve safety should be part of the next Common Agricultural Policy.

“Farm accidents are not unique to Ireland – the issue is an EU-wide problem and we need to learn what is working in other EU member states,” she added.

Continuing, she said: “Farmers must put their health and well-being to the fore and stop and think when undertaking a task on the farm and ask what might go wrong, especially when working alone.”

McGuinness concluded by commending all associated with highlighting the issue at the forthcoming Tullamore Show.

Saftey Integration

Pat Griffin, senior inspector for agriculture in the HSA, said: “The fatality and injury statistics prove that there is a real problem with how safety is viewed on Irish farms.

“Safety and health on farms need to become integrated into every job and become just how we do things and not an add-on or afterthought.”

Griffin said that there is much talk about smarter farming and called on all farm families to give to give more consideration to:
  • Advance Planning;
  • Operator Training;
  • Manage and Control Machinery and Animal Movement;
  • Maintenance Programme;
  • Physical and Mental Health.

Hidden hazards

Jim Dockery, training manager, FRS Training, said: “We realise that farmers and their family members may not actually see hazards on the farm.”

Dockery added that the farm safety demonstrations often point out hazards that farmers may take for granted.

He said that people who watch the demonstrations are learning something new that they are not currently doing and he explained that their aim is for each person to take at least one tip home.

“We want each person to go away smarter and hence safer,” he said.

Ciaran Roche, Risk Manager, FBD Insurance said: “Farmers everywhere can join with us to prevent accidents and hopefully save lives by attending events such as Farm Safety Live and by following our Farm Protect initiative.

“Changing our usual way of doing things can be challenging but, because farming is a tough and demanding occupation with plenty of workplace hazards, it’s time to stop taking risks and prevent any unnecessary accidents.”