The Irish Farmers Association and the Health and Safety Authority have issued a reminder to farm families about today's National Farm Safety Awareness Day. There has been a very strong and positive response so far, and the IFA President Eddie Downey and Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health & Safety Authority are encouraging all farm families to participate.
So far this year, 14 people have lost their lives due to accidents on Irish farms. Monday 21 July, 2014 has been designated by the IFA as the first ‘National Farm Safety Awareness Day’. The Health and Safety Authority has joined with the Irish Farmers’ Association in calling on all farmers to take time to review safety on their farms.
Last year 16 people, including four children, were killed in farming accidents and hundreds were seriously injured.
Speaking about the overall situation in relation to farm safety, Martin O’Halloran, the CEO of the HSA says that while agriculture is recognised as a hazardous occupation, many of the dangers can be reduced by means of prevention: “The rate of fatal and serious accidents on farms is disproportionately high when you consider the numbers employed. Children and older people are particularly at risk. The causes have been consistent, in that the majority involve tractors and machinery, followed by livestock and then drowning or being overcome by gas. We know that the risks can be drastically reduced by working through and implementing our farm safety risk assessment document. Farmers are required to do this and to have a safety statement, it does take time, it might cost some money but I believe it is the best investment a farmer can make.”
IFA President Eddie Downey said farming is a high-risk occupation, but accidents and injuries can be prevented by taking time and working safely. “Being tired, distracted and stressed is often a reality on busy farms and every effort must be made to avoid shortcuts. At the peak of this busy summer season on farms, safety must come first. We want farmers to ‘Think Farm Safety’ on Monday and to continue to ‘Think Farm Safety’ every day after that, because taking even one risk is taking one risk too many.”
This year the HSA has committed to carrying out 3,000 farm safety visits. The main areas of concern during a visit will be; ensuring machinery is properly maintained and guarded (PTOs), good handling and loading facilities for livestock, safe slurry handling, farmyards and building are in good repair and electrical equipment is to correct standard.