Farm Safety Week: Tuesday’s focus on Machinery and Transport

The Farm Safety Week initiative continues today, Tuesday, with the topic of ‘Machinery and Transport’ being the key theme focused on, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

A significant cause of death and injury on farms are poorly used or faulty vehicles and machinery. Farmers deal with a range of machinery on a daily basis, including hay balers, forage harvesters and combines – which all bring their own hazards, the IFA added.

Unguarded PTO (power take-off) shafts or other unguarded moving parts – such as belts and pulleys – can very easily catch hands, hair and clothing, the IFA warned.

Injuries can also be caused by front-end loaders, a person falling from a tractor in motion or being knocked down by a tractor’s wheels.

The President of the IFA, Joe Healy, said: “Machinery and transport continue to be the main causes of life-changing and life-ending injuries on farms.

In fact, of the 21 farm workers who lost their lives in agriculture in 2016, 12 were workplace machinery-transport related.

Continuing, the president added: “The fact of the matter is that one death is one too many. Farm Safety Week is in its fifth year of existence, farm safety training is improving across the country and the Farm Safety Partnership is continuing to communicate directly with farmers across the country.

Machinery

“We all agree that farming is an industry that has decided that enough is enough and changes need to happen.

“Everybody in farming knows somebody who has been injured or killed in an accident.

Reminding farmers that farm safety is a lifestyle, not a slogan seems like the right thing to do this week, given the culture of risk-taking in the industry. One day your luck could run out. One day it could be you.

Despite the advancements in safety features on modern tractors, they are still dangerous, Healy added. He urged everyone to take a minute to use the SAFE STOP approach.

“Ensure tractors, telehandlers and associated equipment are switched off when doing routine tasks or making routine checks and maintenance.

“Take your time to think about what you are doing and what might go wrong, as making a few simple checks could actually save a life – maybe your own,” Healy concluded.

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