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.

More on this topic

25 years on: Do you recall where you were when you heard the news of Kurt Cobain's death?

Casey becomes first man to retain Valspar crown

Bayer and J&J settle US lawsuits over blood thinner

Man arrested in connection with Strokestown incident released without charge

More in this Section

Turning wood into food to solve protein shortage

Karen Walsh: Appeal Court verdict of interest for Irish farming families

Optimising our inshore fisheries

Dispute between farmer and wind farm company takes a twist


Lifestyle

25 years on: Do you recall where you were when you heard the news of Kurt Cobain's death?

MOMMY DEAREST: The portrayal of Irish mothers on screen

Making Cents: Consumers have more options with An Post

More From The Irish Examiner