AN online tool designed to enhance farm safety and reduce risk has attracted hundreds of hits since it was piloted in March.
Now, the Health and Safety Authority, the Irish Farmers Association and FBD Insurance have come together with a joint appeal to farmers to avail of this assessment system.
The facility — www.farmsafely.com — allows farmers to complete farm safety statements in a user-friendly fashion, and is the first of its kind for the agricultural sector in the world.
There have been 18 farm deaths in Ireland this year compared with 11 for the whole of last year. Three of those killed were children and another three were farmers over 65 years.
Cork and Clare have had the most fatalities, with three each, while Kerry recorded two farm-related deaths.
The major causes of death on farms over the last 10 years have been machinery (49%), livestock (15%), drowning /gas (14%) and falls (10%).
HSA chief executive Martin O’Halloran said improving safety and health in agriculture continue to represent a big challenge.
He said the free online risk assessment tool re-launched yesterday will assist farmers in making their farms safer places to work and live for themselves, their children and their families.
“It has been developed with support from FBD, and with the knowledge that Irish farmers are recognised as European leaders when it comes to adopting new technologies.
“We are delighted the IFA are supporting us in re-launching this online tool,” he said
IFA president John Bryan said the promotion of the online system was timely as activity on farms significantly increases during the summer and children are on their school holidays.
“My advice to farmers is to prioritise health and safety as it is one of the most important aspects of their work,” he said.
Mr Bryan urged farmers to undertake their own farm risk assessment and produce a farm safety statement as it is time well spent and will help avoid the anguish that follows a farm accident.
Andrew Langford, chief executive, FBD Insurance, said it is acutely aware of the pain and suffering endured by families as a result of farm accidents.
“We can help put things right after such an event but our priority is to work closely with farmers to try and ensure accidents don’t occur in the first place.
“This project is one such initiative which will make a major contribution to increased awareness and as a result reduce the number of accidents on farms,” he said.
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