Ask yourself the farm safety questions: Can you do better?

At the recent Agri Aware open day in Pallaskenry Agricultural College, Co Limerick for secondary students studying agricultural science: PJ O’Connor, Grassland Agro (IFMA); Kalyn Arias, Agri Aware; students Josh Sullivan and Sarah-Jane Furlong from Doon ; and college principal Derek O’Donoghue. Picture: O’Gorman

By Gerard McCutcheon, Pig Development Department, Teagasc

Last year was an improved one in terms of farm fatalities.

There were 17 deaths on farms in 2018, compared to a five-year average of 22.

The incidence of deaths on farms is still too high, particularly when compared to other employment sectors.

Also, the percentage of deaths to young and old is a serious concern. Over 50% of the deaths in 2018 (10 people) were to people aged over 65.

Why are the young and old most vulnerable?

The older person has a slower reaction time, while children don’t see the danger that may exist. This is why farmers need to be extra vigilant when young and older people are on farms.

It is important to constantly strive to improve health and safety on all farms. It is always good to review your policies at the start of a new year.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often do we do a risk assessment on our farms?
  • Are all staff prepared to identify and highlight any hazards or potential hazards to the owner and/or manager, so that the risk of danger can be reduced/eliminated?
  • Are all staff members aware of the safety statement, and familiar with appropriate control measures to manage all the risks on your farm?
  • Is there an openness to discuss health and safety on your farm?

There is always room to improve, and it is important that the risk of injuries (or worse) is always eliminated or managed properly.

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