HSA on a mission to identify ‘reckless’ TikTok ‘outliers’

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has said it “will do everything in its power” to identify the individuals who engaged in the posting of “reckless” farm machinery stunts on social media over recent weeks.

The farming community, farm organisations and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, reacted with horror and condemnation to the string of videos that emerged on TikTok – depicting people being recorded in carelessly dangerous situations such as: sitting on the bonnet of a working tractor; climbing up the spout of an operating harvester; or driving a tractor on the wrong side of the road.

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Adding to the furore and dismay, the foolhardy videos come at a time of multiple fatal tragedies on Irish farms over recent days and weeks. As it stands, there have been nine deaths on farms in the Republic of Ireland so far this year.

Speaking to AgriLand, Pat Griffin, a senior inspector with the HSA, said the authority is committed to taking further action on the TikTok videos.

“We’ve had some dreadful weeks in farm safety recently and in terms of what’s happening on TikTok it was very hard to look at that.

“But what has been on social media and on TikTok is a minority – these individuals are not representatives of the farming community.

The vast majority of farmers in Ireland are good decent people that want to do the job right.

“These are outliers; they are not representatives of the farming community – and I make that point strongly.

“They are reckless with their lives, with safety and indeed with the safety of other road users,” he said.

Potential prosecution

Griffin said the authority intends to liaise with An Garda Síochána on the matter.

“We will do everything in our power to identify the people carrying on like this – and we will do everything in our power to take as strong an action as possible against them.

We will be communicating with An Garda Síochána on this; potentially all the way up to prosecution.

“Personally, I would like to follow this up to the furthest extent. People that act like this on a public road shouldn’t be allowed on a public road – that’s my bottom line on it.

“But that is road safety legislation enforced by An Garda Síochána, not the HSA,” he said.