Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon, T.D., this week announced the provision of funding to Teagasc for the procurement of farm machinery simulators for use in agricultural colleges.
Making the announcement, Minister of State Heydon said: “My priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our farmers, and this investment of over €1.25 million in 18 agricultural machinery simulators represents a significant step up in the efforts of my Department and Teagasc to improve the safety record around farm machinery and tractors. They will be ready and in use in all the agricultural colleges in the coming academic year”.
Farming has a poor safety record, accounting for approximately 42% of fatal workplace incidents in the period 2011-2020, yet only 6% of the working population is employed in the sector. Over half of fatal farm incidents are associated with tractors, farm vehicles and machinery. Teagasc National Farm Survey data indicates that about 700 farm vehicle and machinery incidents take place annually.
Minister Heydon added: “These simulators will be a great asset in teaching students the key safety elements of operating farm machinery. The simulators will enable students to train in the operation of a range of machinery”.
The simulators will be used at all agricultural and horticultural colleges and will be available to students completing courses at the colleges and also to students at the universities and technological universities who use the college facilities for practical learning.