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Farm Safety Guidelines

Accidents cause tragedy, suffering and disability

Accidents cause tragedy, suffering and disability

Teagasc Safety Survey Findings

  • 2.000 injuries occur on Irish farms each year
  • 75 per cent of all accidents are associated with:
    • Tractors and machinery
    • Trips and falls
    • Livestock
  • Ireland has over twice the incidence of farm accidents as other European countries.

Public Safety

  • Ensure that there is good visibility at access points onto public roadways.
  • Ensure that livestock fencing and gateways along public roadways are stock-proof.
  • Ensure that public roadways are kept free of hazards. Place warning signs on the road margins when farm activity is in progress. Vehicles and equipment should comply with the Road Traffic Acts.

Prepare a Safety Statement

The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act requires that a safety statement be prepared for all workplaces, including farms. This is a plan to manage safety on your farm. A format for preparing a safety statement is available from Teagasc or the Health and Safety Authority.

Accidents are preventable

  • Most accidents are preventable if practical safety measures are taken - examine your farm, identify the hazards and take control measures.
  • Discuss safety with your family, persons who work on your farm, contractors and visitors and ensure that safe standards and practices are used.

Tractors, Machinery, Workshop Equipment

  • Ensure that all machinery and equipment is in safe working order. Consult the operator's manual. Keep all safety guards in place.
  • Make sure that all operators are competent and work in a safe manner.
  • Always turn off the PTO and stop the engine before attempting to free a blockage. Watch out for bystanders.

Livestock

  • All animals can be dangerous. Keep the temperament of animals, especially bulls, under constant review. Ensure that children, in particular, are safe when cattle are being herded.
  • Bulls should have a ring and trailing chain attached. Where a bull is present, place a warning sign at field entrances with public access.
  • Check that your livestock handling, housing and loading facilities are safe and easy to use.CTORS,

Trips, Falls and Blows

  • Keep all walkways and work areas free of tripping hazards.
  • Rushing is the cause of many accidents - work at a steady pace.
  • When gaining access to heights, use a sound and properly secured ladder. Never walk on a fragile roof, use adequately supported crawler boards or roofing ladders. Ensure that lofts and stairways are sound and have adequate guard-rails fitted.
  • Fit sliding doors or ensure that doors can be secured. Heavy swinging doors or gates are highly dangerous, especially in windy conditions.

Children

  • Look out for and eliminate particular hazards to children on your farm.
  • Provide a safe and secure play area for young children.
  • Supervise young people working on your farm. A young person must be 14 years old to operate a tractor on the farm and over 16 years of age to do so on public roads. Read the Health and Safety Authority guidelines on child safety on farms.

Slurry

  • Ensure that all slurry and effluent tanks are fenced or covered.
  • Only agitate and move slurry when there is a lot of air movement. Pick a windy day. Evacuate all people and stock from sheds. Open all doors and outlets.
  • Adding silage effluent to slurry greatly increases the level of poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas produced.

Lifting and Carrying

  • Prevent back injuries by using mechanical methods of lifting, e.g. loaders, hydraulic jacks, trolleys, wheels under heavy farmyard gates.
  • Before lifting - assess the load. Use the correct technique by having a well-balanced stance, bend your knees, keep your back straight and keep the load close to your body.
  • Ensure that heavy weights are well secured and that proper stacking takes place.

Electrical Installations

  • Have a competent electrician examine the electrical installations on your farm and upgrade if necessary. Be familiar with the standards of electrical installation. Read the ESB leaflet "Farm Well, Farm Safely".
  • Ensure that all plugs are correctly wired and that cables are sound. Only use waterproof fittings in damp locations. All sockets should be protected by a 30 milliAmp Residual Current Device (R.C.D.).
  • Lookout for overhead cables and observe safe clearance distances.

Pesticides

  • Store all pesticides and farm chemicals in a secure, bunded store, made of non-flammable material. Identify the store with the correct safety warning sign. The store should be isolated from flammable materials such as hay or straw.
  • Wear suitable protective equipment - wellingtons, coverall, pesticide gloves, a face shield and where necessary a respirator.
  • Ensure that the sprayer is in safe working order. Operators should receive training. Consult the Teagasc Code of Practice for further information.

Your Health

  • Wear protective equipment where the situation requires it: goggles, gloves, veterinary gloves, ear defenders, a facemask or respirator.
  • Atmospheres with mould, dust or fumes are injurious to health. Where these arise, ventilate the area thoroughly. A facemask (EN 149 Type P2) gives a high level of protection against dust and spores.
  • Adopt high standards of hygiene and cover all cuts and wounds with waterproof plasters. Keep a first aid box and attend a first aid course.

Farm Fires

  • Ensure that combustible materials such as hay, straw, fuel/oils are separated from livestock buildings and dwelling houses. Hay/straw should be stored 18 metres or more from other buildings.
  • To allow access for a fire brigade, entrances and gates should be at least 3.0 metres wide. A fire brigade may have only 2,000 litres (400 gallons) of water aboard. Check that a farm water supply is available to fight a fire.
  • Ensure that all emergency phone numbers are in view at the phone. Have suitable fire extinguishers on the farm and in the home. Additionally, smoke alarms and a fire blanket should be fitted in the home.