21 June 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Minister Creed urges farmers to prioritise farm safety
The recently reappointed Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, has issued a fresh appeal to farmers and contractors alike to prioritise farm safety as the current warm weather sees a large amount of farm activity taking place throughout the country.
‘Farmers and contractors are taking full advantage of the current excellent spell of weather and are literally making hay while the sun shines. This of course means longer working days and added pressure to get seasonal harvesting work done’, the Minister outlined. ‘ This weather also means a lot of children are out and about on farms, and it is critical that safety is foremost in everyone’s mind and that we take steps to avoid injuries, or worse, the loss of life. I have too many times seen the devastating impact that farm accidents can have on a family’.
Farmers are being asked to be safety conscious when making silage to avoid accidents. Working with high-powered machinery and fatigue due to long hours are factors that increase the chances of accidents occurring. Experience has shown that taking a number of safety measures around key areas will make silage time safer.
With the school holidays fast approaching, now is a good time to also check that your farm is safe and that every precaution has been taken. Already this year, there have been 12 fatalities on Irish farms making this one of the worst years for farm fatalities, particularly for older farmers. The Minister highlighted some of the key safety messages, including child safety and operating machinery safely, to be observed during this busy period.
The Minister also drew attention to the upcoming Embrace Ecumenical Service which will be held in Abbeyleix this Sunday, the 25th June at 2pm.
Safety for children on farms
· Contractors must not allow children to ride in tractor cabs.
· Children should not be allowed to play around the farmyard or fields when silage is being made.
Operating machinery safely
· All tractors and other equipment need to be properly maintained and in good condition. Breakdowns, due to poor maintenance, can lead to delays, adding extra cost and more pressure to an already busy schedule.
· Only competent drivers should be allowed to operate machinery during the silage season and the carrying of passengers should be avoided. All guards must be in place on all equipment – in particular PTO shafts – must be properly guarded.
· Never clear blockages by hand until the drive has been switched off and sufficient time has been allowed for the machine to stop completely.
· Remove keys from tractors during maintenance operations.
· Take care when driving on the public road and watch out for other road users especially when entering or leaving fields or yards.
· Keep all lights and indicators in working order.