Fo­cus on roof work and fall­ing ob­jects in 500 HSA in­spec­tions

Irish Examiner - Farming - - FARM FINANCE - Stephen Cado­gan

The Health and Safety Au­thor­ity (HSA) has be­gun a month-long in­ten­sive farm in­spec­tion cam­paign.

About 500 in­spec­tions are planned, with a fo­cus on safe work­ing at height.

Of 21 peo­ple killed up to last week in 2017, due to farm ac­ci­dents, three were as the re­sult of falls from height, or fall­ing ob­jects. This month, in­spec­tors from the HSA will be en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to en­sure they have the right equip­ment and knowl­edge to work at height safely. Pat Grif­fin, se­nior in­spec­tor with the HSA, said: “Most agri­cul­tural roofs are made from frag­ile ma­te­ri­als such as gal­vanised sheet­ing or Per­spex and work­ing on th­ese is ex­tremely risky and should be avoided if pos­si­ble. We are urg­ing farm­ers to find ways to re­place roof fix­ings from underneath us­ing work plat­forms. If the work can’t be done from underneath, use a mo­bile el­e­vated work plat­form that al­lows ac­cess with­out hav­ing to stand on the roof it­self. “Also, lad­ders, if used, must be tied or footed, to avoid slip­ping, and should only be used for a short du­ra­tion.”

Mr Grif­fin said items stored at height can be a dan­ger as well: “We also want to high­light the dan­gers of fall­ing ob­jects such as bales and bagged silage.” Farm­ers are ad­vised not to un­der­take any roof work un­less com­pe­tent to do so; to risk as­sess all work at height; and se­lect suit­able equip­ment, for ex­am­ple, a mo­bile el­e­vated work plat­form. In­for­ma­tion is avail­able free from the HSA’s web­site, on safe op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures with mo­bile el­e­vated work plat­forms; and the HSA code of prac­tice for safety in roof work, and an in­for­ma­tion sheet on us­ing lad­ders safely.

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