Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development, Martin Heydon has outlined three ways to make your farm safer in 2021.
The minister believes that this year “needs to be the year when farmers put their own safety first”.
“We cannot continue to see the level of fatalities we have seen in recent years. 214 people tragically lost their lives on farms between 2010 and 2019, and this is simply not acceptable.”
He is “determined to deliver lasting change that will drive down the current level of safety incidents”.
There were 19 fatal incidents on farms in 2020, with three children under the age of 18, and nine being farmers aged 65 or more. This follows 25 fatalities in 2017, 15 in 2018 and 19 in 2019.
The minister took to social media in recent days to provide safety tips in relation to working with livestock, from a height and with machinery.
Make your farm safety
“2020 was another dark year on Irish farms with 19 people losing their lives in farm safety incidents. As the first minister with special responsibility for farm safety, I have introduced a number of measures in recent months to help make our farms safer,”
“But to affect real cultural change is the responsibility of every farmer. There are a number of small steps that each of us can take at this time of year to make our farms safer.”
“As we head into a busy spring-calving season, it’s important we remember again, the hazards of working with livestock. Between 2010 and 2019, three times as many farmers were killed with incidents involving heifers and cows than were killed with incidents involving bulls.”
“So, now is the time we take to review our cattle handling facilities. Where possible, install calving gates, anti-backing gates and crushes, and take the opportunity to improve our cattle handling facilitates so that we take much less risk when dealing with animals.”
“Working from heights is another really dangerous hazard on Irish farms, causing a quarter of all fatalities in 2019 alone.”
“If you are to undertake some work at a height, you must never do so alone. Always assess the risk beforehand and make yourself familiar with and comply with the HSA code of conduct for safety in roof work.”
“Over the last decade, almost 50% of all farm fatalities involved either tractors or machinery. When operating machines, we must make sure that they are well maintained.
“Identify the hazards and the risks before undertaking the work and when working long hours, remember the only cure for fatigue is rest. Let’s all work together to make 2021 a safer year on Irish farms.” he concluded.