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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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How to stay safe as a farmworker

In this article, Jana outlines how you can stay safe as a farmworker.

Agriculture is an exciting field and there are many reasons to choose to farm for your profession.

You may get to work with animals, cultivate the food that helps to feed the nation, and learn about the natural world that surrounds us.

In fact, thanks to a new scheme, the UK government will pay farmers to maintain soil health. Similar schemes are being rolled out across Ireland and in other regions of Europe.

Yet, even with all these benefits and more, farming is still a difficult field to work in.

Not only is the work unpleasant at times – like the task of “knackering”, reputedly the toughest job in farming. It can also be dangerous.

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In this quick guide, we will detail some ways that you can stay safe while carrying out your farming labours.

Wear the right gear

Although it is not likely that you will suffer a fatal injury through wearing unsuitable clothing (unless possibly loose clothing near PTOs), having the right gear can go a long way to keep you protected from the elements while carrying out farm work.

You can easily avoid many exposure-related conditions, such as hypothermia and sunburn by simply wearing appropriate clothing.

It’s even more crucial that you wear adequate personal protective equipment. For instance, you need to wear robust, protective footwear that protects your feet from falling equipment or trampling livestock, as well as glasses, high visibility clothing, gloves and anything else that will keep your body safe.

Handle chemicals safely

There are many hazardous chemicals that are involved in the work that takes place on farms. These include pesticides, fertilisers and livestock medicines.

To mitigate the risks that these chemicals pose, ensure that you put lids on all storage bins and, similarly, enclose all transfer points and conveying systems.

Additionally, you should install dust extractors and fresh air blowers, as well as wash any exposed skin after working with chemicals and moisturise it once it is dry.

Furthermore, wear safety goggles, gloves and masks, if required.

Use machines and vehicles carefully

Farm vehicles and machinery cause many accidents and injuries. Most of these can be prevented by taking the proper precautions.

Make sure that you only buy products from safe manufacturers that abide by regulations, as well as read all operator’s manuals before using them.

Invest in training

One of the most important ways to ensure farm work safety is to take training. It should cover all aspects of farm work, including those mentioned above, as well proper livestock handling, typical farm hazards, risk assessments and risk and control measures.

By investing in your agricultural education, you will develop your awareness and understanding of all the different hazards involved in farming.

This is an overlooked but essential way to stay safe as a farmworker.

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