This week (from Monday 20th) we’re marking what has become known as our annual Farm Safety Week campaign. This is an event that places a focus on the potential accidents that can occur on a farm setting. It strives to highlight, not just the dangers and the pitfalls regarding farm work, but also to promote awareness and safeguards which can be out in place. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a few easy-to-adhere-to hints and tips that we hope will go some way towards keeping you and yours safe and well.
If you’re allowing children on or around the farm, make sure they’re supervised by a responsible adult at all times. We do understand that, as more children are at home during lockdown and school holidays, keeping an eye on them at all times can prove to be difficult; but remember, according to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), ‘the most vulnerable people on farms are young children and older adults’.
Please don’t allow or ask any child under the age of sixteen years to drive or operate farm machinery. For more detailed information consult www.rsa.ie
If you/any adult is operating machinery or a farm vehicle, please make sure to turn it off and remove the key, storing it safely and out of reach of children, before leaving your vehicle/equipment unattended.
Never enter any enclosure where a bull is on the loose, or where an unrestrained cow is present with her calf. Separate any ‘aggressive’ or ‘combative’ animals from the herd.
If you have firearms, store them safely and in accordance with regulations. Your community guard will be happy to offer you advice. Never store ammunition and firearms together, or within a child’s/vulnerable person’s reach.
If you have a slurry pit on your farm, please be aware they pose a serious risk of both drowning and asphyxiation, (due to noxious gasses). Did you know that fourteen per cent of farm deaths between the years 2000 and 2009 happened as a result of slurry pit-related accidents?
If you are agitating slurry, make sure two people are present at all times; make sure both are wearing suitable/sufficient breathing apparatus and never carry out any work on a slurry pit in a confined space or in still air conditions.
In order to ensure you’re visible at all times, it’s advisable that you, or anyone else around your farm, wears either a hi viz jacket or high viz overalls.
If a shed/barn roof needs to be fixed, (and while we all like to economise), do make sure to ask an expert who is competent to work at a height, to tackle such tasks.
Remember readers, in 2019, a total of nineteen people sadly lost their lives as a result of farm accidents, with fourteen lives lost so far this year alone (tragically, including three children). To that end, the Roscommon People would ask all farmers and those working within the agriculture industry to not just simply be aware of the potential dangers facing them, but to do all in their power to put preventative strategies in place in order to avoid accidents, or worse, loss of life.