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Safety alert issued after fatal farm accident involving slats

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued a safety alert following a fatal accident involving construction work on a farm.

It is urging farmers to consider the following in relation to concrete slats for use in agricultural sheds:

  • Cattle slats should not be subject to vehicular traffic under any circumstances;
  • Tractor slats are designed for a maximum axle load of 7.8-tonne, this loading should not be exceeded;
  • Slats should not be subjected to excessive point loading;
  • All slats should be subject to regular integrity monitoring after 10 -15 years;
  • Farmers must not enter tanks even when empty and must follow guidance on slat inspection.

The HSA noted that guidance on the design load capability of slats can be obtained from your slat supplier or a competent structural engineer.

Construction work on farms 

Where construction work is being considered on a farm, the farmer must ensure that the work is designed to be suitable for the intended purpose, is built in a safe manner and can be used and maintained in a safe manner after being built, the authority outlined.

“For projects that are scheduled to last more than 30 days, involve more than one contractor or involve a particular risk, it is a legal duty of the farmer (the client – the person for whom the project is being carried out) under health and safety legislation to appoint, in writing, before design work commences, a competent Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP) and, before any construction work begins, a competent Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage (PSCS).

During the design stage, the farmer/client, in conjunction with the designer and slat supplier, should consider the need for vehicular traffic to traverse slats and avoid if possible.

During the construction stage, the PSCS/contractor must ensure that existing agricultural slats are not exposed to excessive loads.

When installing new slats, it must be ensured that they are manufactured in accordance with IS EN 12737 and produced in an approved certified plant.

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