A new farm safety initiative involving peer-to-peer mentoring, the Farmers4Safety Managing Risk Together EIP agri project, will be launched by Minister Martin Heydon on the Murphy family farm in Kildinan, Co. Cork, on Monday, April 11, at 11:00a.m.

The Farm Safety EIP Agri project adopts a peer-to-peer mentoring approach that investigates farmers’ and farm families’ behaviours and attitudes towards farm safety, health and well-being, said Niamh Nolan, project officer.

“It changes the norm around farm safety and emotional well-being so it becomes a normal and sustained part of farming culture in Ireland while making the sector safer for those who live, work and visit farms,” she said.

“By utilising a peer-to-peer mentoring approach it will effectively engage farmers on the ground and be the catalyst to change the social norms surrounding farm safety, health and well-being.”

Irish Rural Link (IRL) in partnership with the BRIDE (Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment) project, the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming & Communities Scheme, the New Futures Farming Group, and the Health and Safety Authority, are carrying out this piloted project in their catchment areas.

The majority of farm fatalities and injuries on farms are avoidable and this project will highlight the importance of farm safety, health and well-being on family farms, said Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link.

Farm Safety
Seamus Boland, CEO Irish Rural Link.

“Extreme pressures within the agriculture sector has led to farmers experiencing stress, anxiety, fatigue and financial pressures and this in turn can lead to an incident or fatality occurring,” he said.

“This Farm Safety EIP AGRI project indicates the importance of farmers looking after their own health and well-being and ensuring they are not risking their safety in carrying out jobs on the farm.”  

Irish Rural Link is, Seamus said, delighted to be partnering on the project.

“Each year too many avoidable fatalities and accidents occur on farms across the country, leaving families devastated and without livelihoods,” he said.

“We hope the peer-to-peer mentoring and training of this project will help reduce these numbers and ensure that the family farm can become a safer place to work.”

There are, Niamh said, extreme pressures on farmers and farm families in order to keep up with the pace of farming and in turn may result into farmers or farm families risking their own safety, health and well-being in order to complete jobs.

Farm safety
Niamh Nolan, project officer

“This Farm Safety EIP Agri Project engages with farmers and farm families on the ground in order to change their attitudes and behaviours not only towards safety on farms but also towards looking after their own health and well-being,” she said.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Martin Heydon, said that farmers and their families are the most powerful advocates we have for a change in culture around farm safety, health and well-being.

“Too often, familiarity can lead to farmers becoming accustomed to risks on their farms, risks our families and peers might spot including signs of issues around health and well-being,” said Heydon.

“I am delighted my department has been able to fund this project as I believe there is huge capacity for farmers to learn from one another to make their farms safer places and to improve their health and well-being. 

“This Farm Safety EIP Agri Project is one of the eight projects piloting innovative approaches to farm health, safety and well-being focused on encouraging a bottom up approach to behaviour change among farmers in relation to farm safety,” the Minister continued.

“Farmers4Safety – Managing Risk Together EIP Agri Project will positively impact farm families by adopting actions that will prevent ill health, loss of life and injuries on farms.

“It will also highlight a change in attitudes of partners and those who visit the farm such as vets, scanners, advisors and AI technicians by altering their behaviour towards farm safety, health and well-being.

“We hope that these changes in attitudes and behaviours will influence this generation of farmers and the next by embedding farm safety and emotional well-being within their daily routine on the farm.”

Registration for the launch event is now open via Eventbrite.