IFA to begin ‘peer-to-peer’ farm safety initiative

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is to roll out a ‘peer-to-peer’ farm safety initiative in 2019, which the association says will see farmers “undertake practical measures that will reduce the risk on their own farm”.

The IFA will use the branch structures within its 29 county executives to implement the programme, which will feature groups of farmers coming together to emphasise farm safety issues.

These groups, which will consist of between three and five members, will meet in a particular farm in that group, where they will discuss any “near miss” that had taken place in the previous 12 to 18 months.

The groups will then inspect the farm, focusing on particular safety areas.

The IFA has decided that these farm safety groups will focus on the following areas:

  • Livestock housing and handling units;
  • Machinery;
  • Farmyards;
  • Workshops.

The farmer that has been visited by the group will then be given a “pros and cons” summary, based on what the group sees around the farm.

The farmer in question will then be asked to specify one aspect of farm safety they will improve before the group meets at the same farm again.

The meetings will be repeated throughout all the members of the group before circling back for a second visit to a particular farm.

The IFA visited more than 60 farms throughout the country in preparation for this project.

“There were 15 farm fatalities in 2018, which is a stark message that we have more to do in this area. The peer-to-peer initiative is about encouraging farmers to undertake practical measures that will reduce the risk on their own farm,” said William Shortall, the IFA’s Health and Safety executive.

According to the IFA, the emphasis of the plan is “co-operation between farmers at busy times of the year and when carrying out dangerous tasks”.