Stay safe on farms in January
F a r m a c c i d e n t s i n 2 0 1 8 resulted in 17 deaths, which is five fewer than the average for the previous five years. Nine fatalities in 2018 were associated with farm vehicles and machinery, while a further five were associated with livestock.
The remaining three deaths were associated with a fall from a height, slurry drowning and timber cutting. Ten fatalities occurred to persons aged 65 years or older, with five aged 75 or older. Teagasc health and safety specialist, Dr John Mcnamara has urged farmers to give safety first priority during January and the busy spring period in 2019. He said the risk of farm accidents rises with increased work activity, and prevention is strongly associated with implementing behavioural practices. Being struck by a moving vehicle is the most frequent cause of farm deaths on Irish farms, so particular vigilance is needed when they are operating, he stated. A vehicle moving equivalent to a fast walking pace covers about 2m per second, so it gives a person i n i t s p at h l i t t l e ch a n c e t o avoid impact.
Elderly farmers are at particular risk. Vigilance is also needed when handling livestock, particularly cows around calving. Dr Mcnamara advised that a f r e s h l y c a l ve d c o w b e securely restrained before administering a treatment to their calf.
When slurry spreading season gets under way from January 13, vigilance is require. Power shaft guards need to be in place, a windy day needs to b e s e l e c t e d fo r s l u r r y a g i - tation, and all slurry tank openings need to be guarded to prevent drowning.
The Teagasc health and safety specialist also advised farmers to watch out for unstable loads around the farm. As barns empty out, it is really important to watch out for unstable stacks of hay or straw which could collapse and cause injury.
A newly revised legal Farm S a f et y Risk Assessment (green cover) has replaced the previous version (white cover) since January 1. Completion of the revised document is a requirement for Food Assurance schemes. Completion of a half-day training course on risk assessment, or completion of the Green Certificate within the last five years, is a mandatory requirement for TAMS11 grant drawdown. Further information on farm safety can be obtained from Teagasc offices or agricultural consultants.
At the recent presentation of Teagasc Professional Diplomas in Dairy Farm Management at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork, John Mcauliffe, Kiskeam, Co Cork receiving the student of the year award from Jim Treacy, Master Farmers Association; Liam Myles, Farm Apprenticeship Board; and Jerry Twomey, Irish Farm Managers Association. Below, Kevin Keane, Ballyduff Upper, Co Kerry, receiving his diploma from Professor Karina Pierce, UCD; Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle; and Liam Herlihy, chairman, Teagasc.