Always give consideration to the potentially very dangerous nature of construction and maintenance work on farms, in particular, work at height.
That is one of the key messages from Teagasc, who has launched a new joint collaborative farm safety digital media campaign with the HSA, Farm Safety Partnership and FBD Insurance.
The bodies have produced a series of short videos containing industry-leading life-saving advice covering livestock handling, farmer’s health, sheep farming, chemicals, children, slurry handling, harvesting and farm machinery.
In its construction safety on farms video, the partners outlined the importance of ensuring that farmers and building contractors construct buildings or carry out repairs in a safe manner to prevent serious or fatal accidents.
They stressed that farm construction and work at heights is potentially dangerous, so you should, therefore, assess risks and implement proper controls.
They highlighted that falls from a height are a “major” cause of accidents on farms. Of particular concern is falling through fragile roofs and ladders.
According to data from the Health and Safety Authority, 14% of farm fatalities involve falls and collapses.
Here is a summary with some of the main key safety messages contained in this video:
- Farm construction and work at heights are potentially dangerous;
- Assess the risks and implement proper controls;
- Carry out a risk assessment;
- Before undertaking work, ask yourself these questions: Am I competent? Should I hire someone trained and skilled in this type of work? Should I use equipment like a MEWP instead?
- Use MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) and not ladders or loader buckets;
- Only work at heights if you are competent to do so and have appropriate and safe equipment;
- Only remove bales using appropriate machinery, and do not attempt to knock down bales using ropes or ladders.
- Essential that farmers and building contractors construct buildings or carry out repairs in a safe manner to prevent serious or fatal accidents;
- The Safety Health and Welfare (Construction) Regulations 2013 and 2016 are in place to help create a safer place for all to work;
- When planning construction on the farm, it is important to be aware of the hazards and associated risks;
- Carrying out construction work on farms places a legal responsibility on the farmer, as the client, to make appointments;
- Appoint a project supervisor design stage to oversee design;
- Appoint a project supervisor construction stage to oversee the safe construction of a building;
- Teagasc, the HSA and FBD have developed a build in safety guidance booklet which is available to anyone considering a construction project;
- Only employ competent contractors – all workers must be trained and competent.
Using a ladder:
- Decide if a ladder is appropriate for the task;
- When using one, always set it up on firm ground;
- Never set up on a moveable surface such as a tower scaffold, MEWP, pallets or blocks;
- Have a strong upper resting point;
- Have the ladder at a safe angle (1 out for every 4 units up);
- Secure the ladder properly;
- Use the ladder for light, short-duration work;
- Grip the stiles while climbing and maintain three points of contact (hands and feet) at all times at the working position;
- Move the ladder location; never overreach.
Previous article on chemical safety in a previous news article on That’s Farming.