Farm Safety - Working at Height on the farm
17% of farm fatalities over the last 10 years were caused by falls from heights or being struck by collapsing or falling objects. Always take time to stop and plan before starting to work at height or in an environment where it is possible to be struck by something falling from a height
Some safety tips
- Assess the job to determine if you have the skills and expertise to do the job safely.
- Think about whether or not there are different, new or safer ways to carry out the work. For example, if a roof requires repair, can you avoid going onto it by carrying out the repair safely from below?
- Ensure you have the appropriate safety equipment before beginning.
- Use a mobile elevated work platform where possible. Never substitute with makeshift alternatives.
- Inspect any equipment you use regularly to make sure there are no defects.
- Never walk on fragile, slippery or unstable roofs
- Use guard rails at a roof edge, or crawling boards on a fragile roof.
- Only stack bales if you have the appropriate machinery available to take them back down during feeding.
- Fit safety cages under skylights.
- Consider falling objects or collapsing earth or structures when planning each job.
Many farm injuries each year are as a result of ladders slipping sideways or out from the base, or someone falling from the ladder. Working from a mobile elevated work platform or scaffolding will significantly lower the risk.
The Health and Safety Authority (H.S.A) has a working at height in Agriculture information sheet available free on their website that you can access this here
The H.S.A also have a number of videos on the topic of falls and collapses.
Sean talks about the suffering and injuries he received when a bale of hay fell on him.
Emergency services at the scene of a fall from height accident.
For information on safe management of farm building maintenance or new farm building construction please contact your local Teagasc advisor or check out an article by Tom Fallon Teagasc Farm building specialist.