Stay safe on farms in Jan­uary

Irish Examiner - Farming - - GENERAL FARMING -

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.

Pic­tures: O’gor­man Pho­tog­ra­phy

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.

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