FRS Network, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and the Health & Safety Authority (H.S.A) have come together to promote the 8th National Farm Safety Week. Compiling their resources and knowledge, each organisation is ‘working together to reduce farm accidents’ on Irish farms.
With 5% of the national workforce working in agriculture, this sector continues to have one of the poorest safety records in Ireland. Last year 19 people lost their lives in farm accidents, with that number in danger of being surpassed with 14 confirmed farm deaths so far in 2020.
FRS Network have launched a campaign where they deliver monthly safety messages directly to customers and have a dedicated Facebook page, Farm Safety Live, to share useful farm safety information and guidelines. The IFA have a number of online resources including safety videos and live webinars for people to interact with throughout the week. The H.S.A plans to inspect 200 farms as part of a two-week inspection ‘blitz’ to highlight safety issues to reduce fatalities and serious incidents.
Discussing safety at Padraig Moran’s farm in Borrisokane, CEO of FRS Network, Peter Byrne commented, ’We need to try a different approach and get farm safety into the topic of conversation in every farm home. I suggest every farmer and his/her family set aside a half hour each week to discuss safety issues on their farm. Identify priorities and aim to get them addressed in the following week. Keep repeating this practice on an ongoing basis. Safety needs to be a topic of conversation, just like the milk prices, purchasing machinery, dosing cattle or when to cut silage, etc. It needs to be a family approach with everyone being aware of what needs to be done on their own farm. The family must take ownership of making their farm a safer place for everyone.’
Tim Cullinane IFA President commented, ‘This is our 8th National Farm Safety week, sadly there were 19 deaths last year and we have to date 14 deaths again this year and its only July. The key message is that we all need to be conscious of farm safety. We recommend that before farmers start a job, they take a minute to think if their environment is safe to work in. We are also very conscious that there maybe more children around the yard this year, they need to be supervised as children may not realise the danger, they are in. We encourage everybody to do their bit, stay safe and put that extra bit of effort into farm safety.’
H.S.A Chief Agricultural Inspector, Pat Griffin, said, ‘We’re delighted with all the stakeholders getting involved and sharing doing their initiatives. I believe that farming has come a long way in Ireland and can improve further. We have the potential to be the best at farm safety as well as being the best in food production. The Health & Safety Authority hope to do approximately 200 inspections and we hope farmers will take this opportunity to speak to the inspector and get expert advice in relation to farm safety. Farmers should welcome this advice from – the expert safety inspectors and they may actually point something out that could prevent an accident, or worse, a fatality.
Lastly, Jim Dockery, Health & Safety Manager, FRS Network commented, ’We are delighted to work together with the HSA and IFA for Farm Safety Week, with the bigger aim to reduce farm accidents and fatalities on an on-going basis. We are here in Padraig Moran’s farm in Borrisokane launching this new initiative “Working together to reduce farm accidents”, there are a lot of areas that cause farm accidents and have focused on a few of them today including animals, slurry, machinery, and bales. Farming can tend to be male orientated but let’s not forget the massive input from the female side such as mothers, partners, wives on the farm, they have a huge impact. They are often looking at the safety side of the farm from a different perspective. They can be very influential and are often the instigators of promoting Farm Safety so we just want to acknowledge the work they do.’
So “let’s all work together and reduce farm accidents”
For more information on National Farm Safety Week visit:
FRS Network: https://www.frsnetwork.ie/
Irish Farmers Association: https://www.ifa.ie/cross-sectors/farm-family/farm-safety/
The Health & Safety Authority: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/
Farm Safety Live Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/farmsafetylive