Stephen Cadogan: Co-op’s farm safety initiative commendable and timely

Well done to Dairygold Co-op for hosting a free farm safety information day tomorrow at Cork Racecourse, Mallow.

At the ‘Making your Farm a Safer Place’ event on Friday, farmers will hear about safety, and will view innovative safety equipment in live demonstrations organised by Teagasc, the Farm Relief Services, the Gardaí, Zurich Insurance, the Health & Safety Authority, and the Road Safety Authority.

The event is aimed at farmers and their families, especially mothers, and will run from 10:30am to 2:30pm, including a panel discussion on family safety.

There were four fatal farm accidents in Ireland during April. In March, there were three fatal farm accidents. In January also, three people died on farms.

North of the border, the death of a four-year-old boy in a farm accident in Co Fermanagh in April was a particularly dreadful tragedy.

In the past week, you could look also across the Irish Sea and add in the death of a 76-year-old farmer, killed by a bull last week on his farm in the Scottish Highlands.

And in the English midlands, a builder was flown to hospital after suffering serious injuries in an industrial accident at a farm.

There has been a shocking death toll, even before the silage season becomes hectic, and it must be feared that the average annual death toll of 19 people dying on Irish farms will be exceeded again in 2017.

On top of this comes the Irish Cancer Society’s warning that almost one in four (23%) deaths from skin cancer in Ireland are among those in the construction, outdoor and farming industries.

This is based on figures from the British Journal of Cancer that showed four in 10 construction workers diagnosed with a melanoma died from the disease, as did just over two in 10 farmers.

The take-home message is to attend tomorrow’s Dairygold Co-op free farm safety information day at the Mallow Racecourse. It could quite probably save your life, or the life of a loved one.

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