06 Oct 2022

Renewed call on farm safety as toll reaches 17

A full church for the EMBRACE Farm Accident Remembrance Service in Abbeyleix earlier this year. Picture: Alf Harvey/
IFA president Eddie Downey has again called on farm families to make safety a top priority on their farms and to think safety and farm safely at all times.

IFA president Eddie Downey has again called on farm families to make safety a top priority on their farms and to think safety and farm safely at all times.

Tragically, 17 lives have been lost to farm accidents so far this year, which is more than all of 2013.

Eddie Downey said farming is a high-risk occupation, but accidents and injuries can be prevented by taking time and working safely. “Being tired, distracted and stressed is often a reality on busy farms and every effort must be made to avoid shortcuts. At the peak of this busy summer season on farms, safety must come first.”

As with IFA’s National Farm Safety Awareness Day last month, the IFA president appealed to farm families to dedicate time to thinking about health and safety on their farms; to identify potential danger areas; and, to consider ways to minimise risks.

“By taking time with family members and farm staff to review or complete a risk assessment, farmers will not only reduce the risks to themselves, their families, employees and farm visitors but will also ensure they are complying with health and safety legislation.”

The IFA has a dedicated ‘Farm Safety’ section on its website, which provides farm safety videos, booklets, links and information. This will complement a range of initiatives, including messages in the IFA calendar, text alerts to our members and regular updates through their County Executive network.

Meanwhile, ICSA has extended sympathy to the families of the children who have recently lost their lives in farm accidents.

“Statistics show that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in terms of accidents and fatalities,” said Connaught/Ulster vice-chairman John Flynn. “Older people and children are the two most at-risk groups, and at this time of year, with schools closed and the harvest underway, there is extra pressure on parents to ensure that the farm is a safe place.”

“Young children particularly should be kept away from dangers like machinery and livestock. The HSA’s Code of Practice on Preventing Accidents to Children and Young Persons makes a number of recommendations, including the provision of a safe and secure play area away from farm activities. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the farm is a home as well as a workplace. Low farm incomes have forced many spouses into off-farm employment, and in the summer months, many farmers have the responsibility of caring for children on top of running the farm.”

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