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New protocol for farms where contractors are working

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) have joined forces to draw up a protocol for farms where contractors are working.

The FCI is requesting that all work instructions are now given over the phone or by email, using texting and smartphone technology to ensure that fieldwork is carried out efficiently while adhering to the HSE personal safety guidelines.  

It has suggested some practical measures for all contractors and their teams to consider, with immediate effect. “At this time, remember that the health of your teammates/machine operators and our costumers has to be your priority.”

“Please give your team a clear set of instructions and if possible, stick a copy of the short message in a prominent place in the tractor cab.”

The association is asking the owners of agricultural contracting firms to inform their teams about the following points:

  • Disinfect the interior tractor cab at the start and at the end of each day with a disinfectant spray;
  • Disinfect the tractor cab door handles at the start and at the end of each day with a disinfectant spray;
  • Adhere to social distancing and do not allow others into the tractor cabin with you;
  • Children are off from school. “They will like a diversion from the boredom of being around the house.” Do NOT allow them into the tractor cab with you;
  • Bring enough food and drinks with you for a day’s work, and take two food breaks;
  • Provide a box of disposable plastic gloves in each tractor cab for your operators and replace each week;
  • Use disposable plastic gloves to open and close farm gates where possible;
  • Wear overalls and change them for a fresh set each day or use disposable overalls and dispose each day;
  • No hand contact, no shaking hands, it is possible to give the instructions over the phone;
  • Maintain two metre safety distance;
  • Cough into your elbow;
  • If you have symptoms, call HSE Live at 1850 24 1850.

Follow HSE guidelines 

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“Please follow the HSE guidelines at all times in your daily activities. We want to thank our machine drivers for their understanding and trust, we must all work together to protect ourselves, our teams, our customers and our business and the business of Irish farming.” the association concluded.

Image source: Farm Contractors Ireland Facebook

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