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Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE FARMING -

or fewer em­ploy­ees may in­stead fol­low the guid­ance in the Health and Safety Au­thor­ity 2006 Code of Prac­tice en­ti­tled ‘Code of Prac­tice for Pre­vent­ing In­jury and Oc­cu­pa­tional Ill Health in Agri­cul­ture’ and com­plete a risk as­sess­ment within the frame­work set out in that Code of Prac­tice.

The tem­plate risk as­sess­ment doc­u­ment is avail­able on­line at hsa.ie.

In both cases, a risk as­sess­ment must be car­ried out re­lat­ing to all mi­nors in­volved in work ac­tiv­i­ties as­sist­ing farm­ers in the farm set­ting.

The Safety State­ment or the Agri­cul­ture Code of Prac­tice process is es­sen­tially a doc­u­ment set­ting out how safety and health is to be man­aged on the farm.

It will in­clude an ap­praisal of all the haz­ards on the farm, with an as­sess­ment of the risk of them caus­ing in­jury.

Where the risk of in­jury is high, it iden­ti­fies con­trol mea­sures to elim­i­nate or re­duce the risk.

Any em­ploy­ees us­ing ma­chin­ery or car­ry­ing out any ac­tiv­i­ties that carry risk should be pro­vided with proper in­struc­tions be­fore they carry out any tasks.

Re­spon­si­bil­ity can fall back on the em­ployer in the case of in­jury re­sult­ing from an em­ployee not be­ing ad­e­quately trained, for ex­am­ple, on spray­ing and other tasks in­volv­ing heavy ma­chin­ery.

Em­ploy­ers should also con­sider the en­vi­ron­ment and the safety of the en­vi­ron­ment that they are bring­ing em­ploy­ees into.

Tools and ma­chin­ery ly­ing around can re­sult in in­jury and po­ten­tial claims against the em­ployer.

As well as tak­ing proper pre­cau­tions around train­ing and safety, em­ploy­ers should also have em­ploy­ers li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance.

Em­ploy­ers li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance pro­tects your busi­ness against your le­gal li­a­bil­ity for in­jury, ill­ness, dis­ease or death of any em­ployee.

You should al­ways check the fine print as to who will be cov­ered un­der this type of pol­icy.

For ex­am­ple, if your spouse or adult child does not re­ceive a salary from the farm but works on the farm, will they be cov­ered?

Each in­surer will have dif­fer­ent terms and you should closely con­sider your pol­icy to en­sure it cov­ers all the risks that you need it to.

CHIL­DREN ON THE FARM

In gen­eral, it is recog­nised that mi­nors are not ma­ture enough to be in­volved in or ex­posed to the risks aris­ing from hazardous farm work ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the op­er­a­tion of hazardous farm ma­chin­ery, move­ment of live­stock, load­ing and un­load­ing of live­stock, ag­i­ta­tion and spread­ing of slurry or the mix­ing or use of chem­i­cals, vet­eri­nary medicines and pes­ti­cides.

A risk as­sess­ment must be car­ried out be­fore any mi­nor starts work and should also cover mi­nors such as fam­ily mem­bers and visi­tors, who may be af­fected by the work ac­tiv­i­ties.

Chil­dren un­der the age of 14 should be pro­hib­ited from rid­ing on agri­cul­tural ma­chines Do in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural trail­ers un­less the risk as­sess­ment shows it to be safe to do so.

Chil­dren be­tween the ages of seven and 16 may ride on a trac­tor pro­vided the trac­tor is fit­ted with a prop­erly de­signed and fit­ted pas­sen­ger seat (with seat belts) in­side a safety cab or frame.

As is the case with em­ploy­ees, you should check your farm in­sur­ance pol­icy for what ex­actly is cov­ered from this per­spec­tive.

The risks are many and al­though it may seem that the pa­per­work and red tape as­so­ci­ated with hav­ing an em­ployee come onto the farm is huge, it should be con­sid­ered that many of the prac­tices around safety, health and wel­fare of the em­ployee should also be taken on board by those farm­ers work­ing alone on the farm.

In a sec­tor which has one of the high­est rates of work­place in­jury and death it is past time that greater lev­els of cau­tion and safety are em­ployed on farms.

LI­A­BIL­ITY CAN FALL BACK ON THE FARMER IF EM­PLOY­EES HAVEN’T BEEN PROP­ERLY TRAINED

This ar­ti­cle is in­tended as a gen­eral guide only, you should seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice in re­la­tion to your in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances.

Theresa Mur­phy is a bar­ris­ter based in Ar­dra­han, Co Gal­way

A risk as­sess­ment ex­er­cise will iden­tify po­ten­tial haz­ards in­volved in spe­cific ma­chin­ery op­er­a­tions and other tasks on the farm

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