Your farm safety mea­sures up to scratch’

Irish Independent - Farming - - FEATURE -

on farms — 24 of those were chil­dren.

Quad bikes

Al­most 50pc of the fa­tal ac­ci­dents in­volved farm ma­chin­ery, and quad bikes ac­counted for 15pc of those fa­tal­i­ties.

“Farm­ers have be­come so re­liant on quads and they are on them 12 hours a day, so sadly there is al­ways the risk of hav­ing an ac­ci­dent if safety pro­ce­dures are not in place,” com­mented John Cullen of Quad­ven­ture.

Set up 20 years ago as a di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion from farm­ing, it is now a hugely suc­cess­ful fam­ily-run busi­ness in the south-east.

It spe­cialises not only the fun as­pect of quad bikes, but also safety train­ing for the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors.

“Get­ting farm­ers to wear hel­mets is one of the big­gest stum­bling blocks,” he said, “as they are not a le­gal re­quire­ment.”

“We also like to stress the im­por­tance of safety checks ev­ery time be­fore the quad is used. This in­cludes oil checks and tyre pres­sure, but most im­por­tantly brakes. If these fail, an ac­ci­dent is very likely.”

Dur­ing the de­mon­stra­tion Mr Cullen also out­lined the im­por­tance of shift­ing a per­son’s weight ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tion of the quad.

He em­pha­sised this was also im­por­tant when go­ing up and down hills.

“An­other area of con­cern is when tow­ing a trailer. Each quad has a dif­fer­ent tow­ing ca­pac­ity, so peo­ple must bear this in mind.

“A lot of farm­ers are also us­ing quads to carry spray- ers and this can be lethal when the weight shifts. They can eas­ily cause a quad to over­turn,” he said.

In re­cent weeks a new or­gan­i­sa­tion, Aware­ness Head to Toe, was launched in Co Wex­ford in a bid to fur­ther pro­mote men­tal health, gen­eral health, and farm safety aware­ness.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s first event, a farm safety and men­tal health open day, takes place on Les­lie Dixon’s farm in Money­lawn, Gorey, Co Wex­ford on Satur­day, Septem­ber 30, from 11am-4pm.

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