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HomeBeefFarmer health ‘central’ to good farm management
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmer health ‘central’ to good farm management

“Managing your own personal health and safety needs to be central to good management on the farm.”

That is according to 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 health of farmers video, the partners outlined that about one-third of all reported injuries are due to poor manual handling with most manual handling accidents resulting in back injury.

The bodies have urged farmers to develop ways of minimising the need to carry out manual handling tasks.

It warned farmers that lifting heavy loads on a continuous basis results in arthritis of joints, particularly knee and hip joints. Moreover, damage is also caused to tendons, ligaments and muscles.

As covered in a recent article on That’s Farming, dust spores and vapours can cause severe illnesses; therefore, it is important to reduce dust and spores.

Always wear proper PPE, such as gloves and masks, and improve ventilation.

Note that long-term impacts could include asthma, chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, weight loss, farmer’s lung and sensitisation.

Moreover, you can catch a range of serious illnesses from animals and contaminated material, bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Contact with materials contaminated with rat urine can cause Well’s Disease, which is potentially fatal. Other examples of infections include Lepto, Bovine TB, Orf, Lyme Disease and Ecoli.

Main messages:
  • Good hygiene to prevent contraction and spread of infectious diseases and viruses;
  • Exposure to noise above 90dB over extended periods causes hearing damage;
  • If the noise is such that it is difficult to hear someone talk in a normal voice, noise levels are at a damaging level;
  • Where you cannot eliminate noise, wear ear protection to help with hearing loss;
  • Fatigue can be a factor in many accidents on the farm;
  • Long working hours, particuarly at calving, lambing and harvest time, increases the risk of fatigue and associated accidents;
  • Try and get adequate sleep when possible;
  • Seek additional help if necessary;
  • Stay hydrated and take regular breaks;
  • Be sun smart, and wear sunscreen, especially between April and September, even when it is cloudy;
  • Wear long trousers, long sleeve shirts and a broad-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun;
  • Remember, in the long term, your health is substantially in your own control.

Previous news article on slurry handling safety

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