Farm Safety Week: ‘Safety needs to be topic of conversation, just like milk prices’

FRS Network, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have come together to promote the eighth annual National Farm Safety Week.

Compiling their resources and knowledge, each organisation is working together to reduce farm accidents on Irish farms.

With 5% of the national workforce working in agriculture, this sector continues to have one of the poorest safety records in Ireland.

Last year 19 people lost their lives in farm accidents, with that number in danger of being surpassed with 14 confirmed farm deaths so far in 2020.

Discussing farm safety, the CEO of FRS Network, Peter Byrne, said:

“We need to try a different approach and get farm safety into the topic of conversation in every farm home. I suggest every farmer and his/her family set aside a half hour each week to discuss safety issues on their farm.

Safety needs to be a topic of conversation, just like the milk prices, purchasing machinery, dosing cattle or when to cut silage, etc. It needs to be a family approach with everyone being aware of what needs to be done on their own farm.

“The family must take ownership of making their farm a safer place for everyone.”

The IFA president Tim Cullinan commented:

“This is our eighth National Farm Safety Week. Sadly there were 19 deaths last year and we have to date 14 deaths again this year and it’s only July. The key message is that we all need to be conscious of farm safety.

“We recommend that before farmers start a job, they take a minute to think if their environment is safe to work in.

We are also very conscious that there may be more children around the yard this year; they need to be supervised as children may not realise the danger that they are in.

“We encourage everybody to do their bit, stay safe and put that extra bit of effort into farm safety.”

The HSA chief agricultural inspector, Pat Griffin, said:

“We’re delighted with all the stakeholders getting involved and sharing doing their initiatives. I believe that farming has come a long way in Ireland and can improve further.

“We have the potential to be the best at farm safety as well as being the best in food production.

The HSA hopes to do approximately 200 inspections and we hope farmers will take this opportunity to speak to the inspector and get expert advice in relation to farm safety.

“Farmers should welcome this advice from the expert safety inspectors and they may actually point something out that could prevent an accident, or worse, a fatality.”