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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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‘Taking time to plan for the silage season will help to prevent farm safety incidents’

Plan a safe silage season and always think safe, stay safe and be safe.

Those are the words of Kildare farmer and Minister of State with special responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon.

He provided some advice to the farming community in a brief YouTube clip in recent days.

He said: “I am all too aware of the pressure the silage harvest season brings.”

“As we prepare for cutting silage, safety should be our first thought and not an after-thought because every year, farm vehicles and machinery account for over half of all fatal farm incidents.”

“Taking time to plan for the silage season will help to prevent farm safety incidents.”

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“It is vital to keep our children safe and away from the silage harvest. Friends, family, visitors, and fellow farmers not involved in silage-making should also stay away from the yard and meadows.”

Safe silage season

Advice Minister Heydon issued:

    • Make sure that all machinery is in a good state of repair, fully serviced, and that all protective guards are in place;
    • Ensure that everyone involved is properly trained and knows their role;
    • A safe system of work must be in place and properly communicated to all;
    • Ensure that everyone knows the routes the machinery will be taking;
    • Also, ensure there is good visibility at the farm entrance and all field entrances that are being used;
    • Erect warning signs near entrances to fields and farmyards;
    • Ensure that silage pits are in good repair and not overfilled;
    • Rolling pits at a height is very dangerous;
    • If you have excess grass, make baled silage instead.

Aim for zero farm accidents every day in 2021

Earlier this year, John McNamara, Teagasc health and safety specialist, said farmers should aim for zero farm accidents every day in 2021.

An accident causes tragedy and leads to tragedy, pain and suffering, and possibly lifelong disability, he wrote.

It is in everyone’s best interests to put time and effort into preventing accidents.

However, a recent Irish study showed that just 38 % agreed that farmers give safety higher priority than on time.

This indicates that planning work to prevent hurry has a considerable role to play in cutting farm accidents.

Additionally, implementing farm developments measures such as modernising and maintaining buildings and equipment can cut workload and hurry and limit the risk of accidents.

The key to managing farm health and safety is to give it your first priority when a risk is present.

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