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‘While farms have a lot of risks, they do not have to be dangerous’

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According to Minister Martin Heydon, it now time for a behaviour change so that the rate of fatal and severe incidents in agriculture reduces.

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with Special Responsibility for Farm Safety made the remark as he welcomed the launch of the government’s Be Summer Ready campaign.

In doing so, he reminded farmers and farm visitors “to be aware of all the risks”.

Tragically every year, farming accounts for over 40% of all fatal workplace incidents.

Minister Heydon commented, “Farmers and their families should always highlight all of the risks on the farm to any visitors, to keep them safe.”

“While farms have a lot of risks, they do not have to be dangerous.  It is important that farmers take heed of all of the safety advice that is available.”

“In particular, farmers and all those working on or visiting farms should be aware of the Government “Be Summer Ready” campaign.”

He said there is a lot of relevant information for farmers in the government’s Be Summer Ready campaign.

SunSmart advice

Minister Heydon added, “In particular, farmers should be aware of the SunSmart advice.”

“After all, as the majority of a farmer’s working day is spent outdoors, we need to be mindful in relation to sun safety, particularly during the summer months.”

CSO figures (2018) suggest that almost one in four (26.6%) of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are to farming, outdoor and construction workers. This information indicates that one death every week in Ireland is at least partly due to sun exposure at work.

Health and wellbeing

Also, the minister took the opportunity to remind farmers of the need to ensure that their tractors and machinery are in good working order and have been fully serviced.

Minister Heydon concluded, “It’s not just about farmers focusing on their physical safety, but also on their health and wellbeing.”

“In these times of Covid restrictions, we should be even more mindful of our farmer neighbours who may live and work alone or in isolation.”

“Take the time to pick up the phone to check in on them.  All farmers, their families and their enterprises will benefit from improved behaviours around issues of health, safety, and wellbeing because farmers must always remember that they are their farm’s greatest asset,” Minister Martin Heydon concluded.

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