Pro-active farmers head up Twitter campaign on farm safety

A Tipperary farmer who previously suffered a slurry accident has initiated a Twitter campaign to highlight the importance of farm safety.

Noel Clancy – who farms full-time with his wife, Aine, in Drangan, south Tipperary and runs an out-farm in Galway – manages the @IrelandsFarmers account on Twitter. He is operating the campaign alongside Lorna Sixsmith who runs a dairy farm in Crettyard, Co. Laois, with her husband, Brian James.

Noel and Lorna decided to pinpoint various aspects of farm safety on the account during the week.

“We thought, as the spring workload is just about to kick off, it would be a good chance to discuss a daily safety topic online via the @IrelandsFarmers Twitter handle for the week,” Noel said.

Farming is the most dangerous sector in Ireland currently. A total of 24 people were killed on Irish farms in 2017; whereas six were killed in the construction industry in the same year.

“We thought by using the account for this week that we might get a discussion going online and get farmers’ views,” he said.

For instance, Noel highlights that every farmer by law has to have a farm risk assessment document; but, he asks are farmers actually using the item correctly?

“We also want to hear what farmers think about the suggestion of linking safety to the Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) system.

“As farmers, we are involved in working in an environment where children and elderly people are regularly involved in fatal accidents. I have three small children so I am acutely aware of the statistics and I need to be aware of dangers to them.

In 2006, Noel was involved in a slurry accident on a farm where he worked. “I fell into a slatted rank; but, luckily I managed to get out safely and I’ve lived to tell the tale,” he said.

Lorna, a popular farming author and blogger, stresses that better preventative measures need to be put in place.

I’ve included a couple of childhood near misses in my next book. One was when I had the bright idea of climbing down from a load of bales on a trailer – but from the front.

“I landed with a thud on the ground in the space between the tractor and trailer – narrowly missing the drawbar,” she explained.

Every week, different farmers curate the @IrelandFarmers account; which has almost 14,000 followers.

Anyone interested in finding out more information can contact Noel @nbclancy or Lorna @IrishFarmerette.