Agriculture continues to represent a high proportion of workplace deaths in Ireland with the sector accounting for 21 out of a total of 48 workplace deaths in 2012. To date in 2013 there have been a number of workplace deaths in the sector. Most of these deaths are preventable in that, most often, they are as a result of rushing or taking unnecessary risks.
It is impossible to quantify the devastation, suffering and hardship that farm families experience as the result of a fatal farm accident.
ICMSA is urging all rural dwellers and visitors to rural areas to be extra vigilant over the next few weeks and months as farmers try to take advantage of weather conditions to harvest much-needed silage and hay.
Farmyards and rural roads are extremely busy at the moment with contractors and farmers under pressure to get silage in as quickly as possible.
It is essential that both farmers and contractors ensure all work is carried out on a ‘safety-first’ basis with no relaxation of vigilance or safety standards permitted.
ICMSA is advising farmers and contractors to ensure that tractors and machinery is serviced with all lights, indicators, etc. in proper working order to ensure they do not pose a risk to other road users.
It is important that all road users in rural areas, particularly during the holiday period, are aware of the increased volume of agricultural traffic and the associated dangers and, therefore, slow down and exercise caution at all times.
Child safety is a crucial issue during the holiday period and it is essential that farm families are aware of the inherent dangers on Irish farm yards and that all steps are taken to minimise injury and/or fatalities during the summer months.
By Willie O’Donoghue, chairman, ICMSA Rural Development Committee