From Monday February 12th – the Health and Safety Authority begin a long intensive farm inspection which will last two weeks. There are 400 inspections in total planned for the coming fortnight with the focus being on working with livestock.

Coming in after tractors and machinery, accidents surrounding livestock are the next most dangerous cause of fatalities on Irish farms to date. From 2008 – 2017 approximately 13% of all fatal farming accidents were related to livestock. Half of these or more involved cows and heifers.
Once the Calving period begins each February the risk of injury can be very high. The HSA plan to focus on the common risks found during this time and livestock safety in general.

The different areas being assessed during the livestock safety campaign are:
• Is an adequate physical barrier established between the farmer and freshly calved cow when treating or handling calves?
• Is there an escape plan for animal birthing activity?
• Is there ongoing investment in animal handling facilities, for example, crush, head scoop and calving gate?
• Are facilities and procedures adequate for loading and unloading animals?

With most calving happening during the short days or at night farmers are advised to have plenty of light scattered around the farm yard for visibility. Appropriate handling facilities and holding areas where they farmer can watch the cows are also necessary.

The Authority will undertake three targeted agriculture inspection campaigns during 2018:
• February – ‘Livestock Safety’
• May – ‘Vehicle Safety’
• October – ‘Safe Working at Heights’

A free guidance document, Safe Handling of Cattle on Farms, is available on the Authority’s website at

FRS Training currently run health and safety courses including a livestock Training course. This course is designed to improve your skills in stockmanship, be able to handle stock safely and be able to identify animals that are sick or in need of routine treatment.

Learners who successfully complete this programme will:
•Be familiar with the Animal Welfare legislation.
•Move a pen of cattle or sheep from one location to another in a safe and efficient manner
•Load a number of animals onto a trailer in a safe and stress free manner.
•Catch a restrained animal and demonstrate how to dose and inject the animals correctly
•Be aware of the withdrawal times for meat and milk for different products.
•Be aware of how to protect oneself from Zoonotic diseases by using correct PPE.

For more information visit or call 1890 201000

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