Farm safety was a central focus at the Tullamore Show this year and the messages were clear from the FRS, FBD and HSA Farm Safety Live demonstrations and the Embrace Farm stand, it is time for every farm in this country to take farm safety more seriously. It can happen in the blink of an eye and farmers need to be constantly on their toes and think safety at every step.
Giving their voice to farm safety throughout the event were Mairead McGuinness, M.E.P. for Midland-North-West constituency and First Vice President of the European Parliament, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital, Single Market & Data Protection, Sharon McGuinness, CEO H.S.A, Jim Dockery, Manager FRS Training and Pat Gilligan, FBD Insurance along with safety demonstration operators from FRS and Height for Hire and Embrace Farm with their ‘Drive to Remember’ campaign.
Mairead McGuinness addressed the farm safety live spectators from the top of a mound of earth, used to demonstrate the safe operation of Quad bikes and said; “Please work with organisations such as Height for Hire, FRS, FBD Insurance and the Health and Safety Authority and don’t resist. When you come together as groups of farmers and encouraged to use services, training and advice, do it. Farm yards are workplaces and your track record as a workplace when it comes to accidents and death is terrible and we have to do something about it, the challenge is there for all of us. Go home today and complete the jobs that will improve safety on your farm. I know of five jobs that I have to get done before I return to Europe and they will be done.”
Minister Creed’s message on safety was around calling on farmers to be better neighbours and getting professional help in, he said; “We have been in those farm yards, graveyards and churchyards far too often. It is an unfortunate reality that the message is not getting through and the solution is evading all of us. There is no silver bullet, the department could take down a bigger stick, but will that make the difference? I think that there is a real positive role that we can play as neighbours. Take on the role of good neighbours and put a fresh pair of eyes on your neighbours’ farm in terms of safety as we are often blinded ourselves to the dangers in our own farm yards. As farmers we need to stop trying to be the ‘Jack of all trades’ and get the professionals in to do the job. We need to take stock and make changes.”
Dr. Sharon McGuinness of the HSA gave an emotional appeal to the people on farm safety and told the story that moved the crowd. She said; “By the second week of the farm safety weeks this year I had 7 notifications of work place fatalities and the majority of these were farmers and that is the stark reality. As the HSA we work with all sectors in relation to work place safety and we are seeing success, unfortunately we are not seeing success in the farming sector. You don’t go out into a construction site and bring your 5 year old on a big JCB, why would you so it on the farm? You must start to think that this is a work place and you have the advice, we know you are aware, please please start to embrace that advice and use it when you get up every morning and go out to do your job.”
Embrace Farm launched their powerful ‘Drive to Remember’ campaign at the show that will see a New Holland tractor, sponsored by Bill Shaw, visiting farms and communities throughout the 32 counties that have been directly affected by a farm fatality and each will be asked to offer a wellie representing the missing feet that once filled and farmed in them. Brian Rohan from Embrace farm has challenged farmers to have no farm fatality during the month of the tractor drive which began at the Tullamore Show on the 12th of August and will run until the National Ploughing Championships on the 18th of September 2018.
Farm Safety Live demonstrated the safe use of Quad Bikes, Tractors, Livestock and safety when working from heights and from the morning launch by Mairead McGuinness right through to the end the stand drew in the crowed and gave them safety tips and advice to action on their farms.
To keep track of the drive to remember visit www.embracefarm.ie , for safety information and advice visit www.hsa.ie , for farm safety training courses including TAMS courses contact www.frstraining.com, for farm insurance www.fbd.ie and also like www.facebook.com/farmsafetylive to see all the footage from the event.