‘We’re losing a farmer every fortnight in Ireland – stay safe’

“We’re losing a farmer every fortnight in Ireland at present and farmers should take extra steps to ensure people of all ages stay safe on farms to avoid tragedy this summer.”

That’s the stark message conveyed this bank holiday weekend by Alma Jordan, founder of AgriKids.

“It’s a very busy time on the farm; silage and hay are in full swing and if the weather holds right, it will be all systems go. Currently, we are losing a farmer every fortnight in Ireland, so safety must stay on par with the priority we place on our work,” she said.

“Remember, you matter, so keep yourself safe and out of harm’s way and at all times. For those family members not involved with the day-to-day farm work, keep them away from this manic work area until the job is done,” said the AgriKids spokeswoman.

“Children especially home from school on bank holiday Monday will be tempted to arrive, possibly unannounced, onto a busy farmyard. Make it a clear rule that the farm is out of bounds during times of heavy work. It is not the place for them to be.

“Explain to them the work you are doing and how it can be dangerous. Remain ever mindful of machines, as the biggest killer on our farms. Cover PTOs; carry out tractor safety checks and apply the handbrake.

“And, if you think you are going to be late or delayed, call home and let them know. They worry,” said Alma.

Training

Galway-based farm safety expert and farm accident survivor, Peter Gohery, said that there is a need for more safety training on farms from a younger age.

“Training is especially needed on the use of quads and tractors as well as on the handling of livestock. If young people are trained in farm safety, they can pass their knowledge on. A cultural change is required; it’s not going to happen overnight.

“A mentor programme is required. Nobody seems to involve the farmer. People that are passionate about farming that are able to speak with farmers rather than talk down to them, are needed,” Peter said.

Survivors’ workshops

Farm accident survivors will gather for workshops, hosted by Embrace Farm, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, on Sunday, June 9, at 1:00pm. All are welcome.

Meanwhile, Alma offers the following ‘stay safe’ tips:
  1.  Stay away if you’re not involved in farm work;
  2.  Stay back from moving machines;
  3.  Stay visible if working in darkened conditions;
  4.  Stay in touch if you think you will be late.

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