With three deaths on farms in the last month the Health and Safety Authority and the Irish Farmers Association have come together to urge farmers to give farm safety their highest priority.
Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector – Agriculture with the HSA, is concerned that with ground conditions so poor after the prolonged wet weather, farmers will be at even greater risk when carrying out work on the land. “With such poor ground conditions across most parts of the country the risks from tractors and machinery getting stuck, breaking down, sliding or even over-turning is greatly increased. Farmers should plan their work, consider these increased risks and have plans in place to put things right,” he said.
IFA Farm Family Chair Margaret Healy has urged farmers to maintain a high level of vigilance on farm safety to minimise the risk of accidents, particularly given the bad weather this summer as farm work is being carried out in adverse conditions and frustrations are increased.
The deaths in recent weeks bring the loss of life on farms this year to 11. Working with tractors and machinery remains the high risk activity (6 deaths), while working with livestock has also proved dangerous with bull attacks and cow attacks resulting in 3 deaths. A further 2 deaths occurred as a result of drowning and a falling bale. Those over 65 years of age are at greatest risk as they account for almost half of these deaths.
The HSA and IFA are encouraging farmers not to take risks and to use the safety and health information, advice and resources available particularly on their websites (www.hsa.ie and www.ifa.ie) and on www.farmsafely.com.