Video: Minister Heydon gives top 3 farm safety tips for 2021

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for farm safety, Martin Heydon has outlined his top three farm safety tips for 2021.

Taking to social media in a video to highlight the message, Minister Heydon – who runs a farm in Kildare – stressed the need to take safety seriously.

The minister pointed to three different areas of danger on Irish farms that farmers need to be wary of, and outlined how they can reduce risks in these categories.

These include:
  1. Working with livestock;
  2. Working from a height; and
  3. Working with machinery.

Outlining the issues, backed up with some stark statistics, the minister said:

“As the first minister with special responsibility for farm safety I have introduced a number of measures in recent months to help make farms safer.

“But, to affect real cultural change is the responsibility of every farmer; and there’s a number of small steps that each of us can take at this time of year to make our farms safer.

“As we head into a busy spring calving season, it’s important we remember the hazards of working with livestock.

Between 2010 and 2019, three times as many farmers were killed with incidents involving heifers and cows than were killed in incidents involving bulls.

“So, now is the time that we take to review our cattle handling facilities.

“Where possible install calving gates, anti-backing gates and crushes, and take the opportunity to improve our cattle handling facilities so that we take much less risk when dealing with animals.

“Working from heights is another really dangerous hazard on Irish farms – causing a quarter of all fatalities in 2019 alone.

“If you are to undertake some work at a height, you must never do so alone. Always assess the risk beforehand and make yourself familiar with and comply with the HSA [Health and Safety Authority] code of conduct for safety in roof work.

Over the last decade, almost 50% of all farm fatalities involve either tractors or machinery.

“When operating machines, we must make sure that they’re well maintained, identify the hazards and the risks before undertaking the work and, when working long hours, remember the only cure for fatigue is rest.

“Let’s all work together to make 2021 a safer year on Irish farms,” Minister Heydon concluded.