Farming is by far one of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs in Ireland today.  Figures show that farmers continue to work the longest hours with some even going the whole working year without taking time off. This in the long run effects both their health and their physical ability. Farming can be a hazardous activity that presents a wide range of threats to health.  The principle causes of farmer’s ill health are associated with manual handling, lung problems, infections and noise.  Of farmers with occupational ill health, 50% suffer from chronic back pain.

In order for farmers to maintain good health the following should be considered:

  • Always think safe lifting: When lifting always bend your knees to avoid hurting your back or pulling something.
  • Reduce lifting: Basically avoid carrying loads all at once, take your time and if needs be use a mechanical device to lift them.  Getting someone to help out is always a good option.
  • Assess your load at all times: Take a look at the job ahead, if it is too heavy get help or else lift it mechanically.
  • Avoid slips and trips: Keeping the farm yard tidy at all times will help prevent having slips and trips.  Ensure there is good lighting in the farmyard and buildings.
  • Cover all open wounds: Cover cuts and any open wounds with a waterproof plaster or dressing to avoid infection.
  • Keep vermin at bay: Control vermin by putting a control programme in place on the farm.
  • Reduce noise: Use ear plugs or earmuffs in noisy areas.
  • Remember sun protection: Farmers spend long hours outdoors especially during the summer months so skin is constantly exposed to the sun’s rays. Wearing sun protection is vital to protect your skin and prevent skin damage.


Undoubtedly, your health is vital in order to be effective as a farmer. Taking time off from the farm to unwind and spend time with their family should be a priority every year for the farmer.  This is where FRS Farm Relief Services can help.

FRS work with farmers throughout Ireland helping them to take the time out that they deserve. Experienced operators are sent out to the farm to take over while the farmer is away.  This enables farmers to head away leaving their minds at ease.

Jeremy O’ Hanlon from County Cork has been using the FRS service for 6 or 7 years.

“I have the same guy, James Barry, coming to me from FRS for the past 6 or 7 years so he knows all the ropes.  I’m delighted to be getting the same lad every year.  I’m happy with that because I know he will get the job done and I can enjoy the holiday with my family knowing that there’s a confident guy running the show”.

FRS also offer a Membership Benefit Scheme which provides sickness and accident support that entitles members to the services of an experienced FRS operator to cover the work on the farm while the farmer is getting back to good health.

Micheal Byrne from Greystones availed of his FRS membership and was delighted with how it helped him out when he needed it most:

“I would not hesitate what so ever in recommending the scheme to other farmers.  It did benefit me no doubt about it.  In this particular case it was definitely value for money.  It was well worth it.”

For more information on what FRS has to offer and how we can help you when you need it the most visit or call FRS Roscrea on 0505 21166 or FRS Cahir on 052 7441 598.

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