Teagasc expert highlights serious farm machinery risks

A farm health and safety specialist has urged people to be cautious when working with or near farm tractors, vehicles or machinery in order to reduce the risk of farm deaths and injury.

The call by Dr John McNamara, Teagasc, followed the release of fatal accident data, which showed that 80% of deaths in the first five months to the end of May 2016 were associated with farm vehicles and machinery.

Five persons have lost their lives in farm accidents in the first five months of 2016 compared to six in 2015 and twelve in 2014.

Dr McNamara said one death or injury is one too many and a high state of vigilance is needed as the busy summer work season progresses and the school holidays begin.

“Reversing the recent trend of farm deaths, due to ‘knock-downs or being crushed’ by tractors and machinery, will only be achieved by strong farmer vigilance.

"Farmers should also pay particular attention to parking tractors safely, applying the handbrake and lowering hydraulic equipment, to reduce the safety risk to themselves and others,” he said.

Dr McNamara also called for high vigilance when using power driven machinery due to the possibility of gruesome entanglement fatalities and injuries.

He said: “All power shaft and machine guards must be kept in place; the power must always be switched off before approaching a machine”

He also called for greater vigilance on farms related to the safety of children as school holidays approach; he over the last 10 years fatal accidents involving children were associated with tractors (75%); falls or collapses (17%), and drowning (8%).

A major practical health and safety exhibit will form part of the Teagasc National Beef Open Day -‘Beef 2016’ tomorrow (July 5) at the Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co Meath.

A new Advisory booklet ‘ Build in Safety’ to advise farmers of legal and practical aspects of managing construction of farm building, sponsored by FBD Trust, will also be launched at the event.


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