The IFA and the Road Safety Authority are urging road users to take extra care in the summer months due to the seasonal increase in the number of tractors, trailers and other farm machinery on the roads.
The appeal comes with farmers in the middle of the silage cutting season. Drivers of farm vehicles are also reminded that they are covered by road traffic laws on driver licensing, insurance, vehicle roadworthiness, lighting and motor tax.
Moyagh Murdock, RSA chief executive, said: “I am asking all drivers to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other farm machinery exiting from fields and farm yards. If you are travelling behind farm machinery, please be patient and only over take when it’s safe to do so. We should all expect the unexpected, as danger could literally be around the next corner.”
Yesterday also marked the start of the fifth annual Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland, an initiative led by the IFA in Ireland, aiming to reduce the number of accidents on farms that continue to give farming the poorest safety record of any occupation in the country.
Farmers are being encouraged to take some time this week to assess the safety of routine tasks. The campaign will focus on a different risk each day, including machinery and transport, falls, livestock and slurry, and child safety on farms.
Last year, 21 people lost their lives in farm accidents, and 14 people have lost their lives so far in 2017. If the number of farm deaths continue at the rate they have so far this year, the number of deaths in 2017 could be as bad as 2014 when 30 people died on Irish farms.
IFA president, Joe Healy, said: “Farm Safety Week is about confronting farmers with the realities behind the statistics. The message we want to get out there is simple — always think safety first. The evidence is overwhelming; if you make time to discuss health and safety before doing a task, the chances of incurring an injury go way down.”
HSA chief Martin O’Halloran, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, and Minister of State for Jobs, Pat Breen, are among those joining this week’s push to promote on-farm safety.
Stephanie Berkeley of Farm Safety Foundation, the charity behind Farm Safety Week UK and Ireland, said: “We hope that by hearing the stories of other farmers who have had personal experience of farm accidents, we can get farmers to realise that this week, and every week, farm safety is a lifestyle, not a slogan.”
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