Letter to the editor: ‘Farmers don’t need more regulations for safety; they need education’

Farmers don’t need more regulations for safety; they need education.

Farmers are ageing, so you need to educate the youth. Does Ireland have programmes in place like the 4-H Project and the Future Farmers of America [FFA], like we do in the US?

That is the place to start. I know your education system is different, but the youth in agricultural communities should be exposed to farm safety speakers…like what we do here in the US.

It is an uphill battle to create a safety culture on the farm. It is simpler to make it the farmer’s idea to be safe, rather than to legislate it.

From Bruce Wright, Terry, Montana, US

Health and safety webinar

Meanwhile, closer to home, an inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) here in Ireland – Pat Griffin – said: “Europe can tell us how many cows are born every year, but they cannot tell us how many farmers are killed at work.”

He was speaking on a health and safety webinar held last Wednesday, June 17, by the Agricultural Science Association (ASA).

Griffin has worked with the HSA for 30 years and, in his presentation, he showed harrowing photographs taken at the scenes of fatal accidents. The fatal accidents involved farmers and family members young and old. The photographs showed the stark reality of the dangerous environment that a farm can be for those watching.

He told the audience that 214 deaths have been reported on farms in a 10-year period here in the Republic of Ireland, and worryingly a large amount of accidents have occurred in the past number of months when more people have been at home.

Griffin stated that agricultural deaths are rising and that fatalities and injuries are not all being accounted for, according to his research.