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HomeFarming NewsNew ‘peer-to-peer’ mentoring approach ‘changing the norm’ around farm safety
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
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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New ‘peer-to-peer’ mentoring approach ‘changing the norm’ around farm safety

Farmers4Safety Managing Risk Together EIP AGRI project adopts a ‘peer-to-peer’ mentoring and champion approach to engage farmers in an attitudinal and behavioural change towards farm safety by tackling and improving the social norms around farm safety and emotional well-being.

Irish Rural Link (IRL), in partnership with the BRIDE (Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment) project, the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming & Communities Scheme, the New Futures Farming Group, and the Health and Safety Authority are carrying out this project in their catchment areas (Cork, Tipperary, and Wexford).

This project will investigate farmers, and farm families’ behaviours and attitudes towards farm safety, health, and well-being.

Farmers4Safety

A spokesperson told That’s Farming that it aims to change the norm around farm safety and emotional well-being, so it becomes a “normal and sustained” part of farming culture in Ireland while making the sector safer for those who live, work, and visit farms.

Utilising a peer-to-peer mentoring approach will effectively engage farmers on the ground and be “the catalyst to change” the social norms surrounding farm safety, health, and well-being.

The objectives of the project include a:

  • Change in culture in terms of farm work practices;
  • Embed farm safety, health and well-being in knowledge transfer in discussion groups;
  • Signpost farmers and farm families to the relevant supports/services that they may require;
  • Create a permanent farm safety, health and well-being network by using appropriate discourse for farmers. Ensure that nobody is left behind within the farming community;
  • Highlight the importance of creating a buddy system that will tackle the issue of social isolation within the agriculture sector;
  • Allow farmers to talk to co-farmers and support each other during busy working periods.

The spokesperson continued:

“The majority of farm fatalities/injuries on farms are avoidable. This project will highlight the importance of farm safety, health, and well-being on family farms.”

“Extreme pressures within the agriculture sector have led to farmers experiencing stress, anxiety, fatigue and financial pressures. This, in turn, can lead to an incident/fatality occurring.”

“This Farm Safety EIP AGRI project indicates the importance of farmers looking after their own health and well-being and ensuring they are not risking their safety in carrying out jobs on the farm.”

How will it work?

Farmers4Safety Managing Risk Together offers a bottom-up initiative tailored to each region to ensure it will capture a change in farmers’ attitudes and behaviours by tackling and improving the social norms around farm safety, health and well-being.

The 6-part time farm mentors will drive the project on the ground and highlight the different support mechanisms available to farmers and farm families.

Furthermore, they will disseminate up-to-date information about all farm safety, health, and well-being matters, collaborate with farmers and farm families on the ground and tackle the issue of social isolation.

Moreover, they will collate all their findings on the ground and discuss innovative ways that the project can address these issues/concerns that the farming communities face on the ground.

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