Seasonal Safety Warning to Farmers from Teagasc
Teagasc has issued a timely warning today to farmers to give safety the utmost attention in advance of the busy months of May and June. Teagasc Health and Safety Officer, John McNamara said: ”These two months accounted for 19% of all farm deaths since 1993, and 20% in 2010 (5 deaths). The major killers in these months have been farm vehicle incidents (47%) particularly being struck by tractors, falls from heights and of objects (21%) and animal attacks, particularly bulls (19%).”
“The ‘human behaviour approach’ of continuously recognising potentially dangerous situations and taking preventative action is the key to cutting accident levels in farming, particularly during the busy summer months when there is a lot of movement of machinery and stock. Particular attention needs to be given to the safety of children and senior farmers in this period,” said John McNamara.
The Teagasc Health and Safety Officer was speaking in Athy today, Tuesday, 19 April at the presentation of FETAC Farm Health and Safety certificates by Mr Shane McEntee, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to 112 farmers from counties Laois and Kildare.
Lily Nolan of Teagasc in Laois/ Kildare, who leads delivery of the FETAC health and safety training, stated that farms are complex and often one-person operations. “Keeping machinery, equipment and facilities in safe working order is vital, but planning safety into work activities is also necessary to prevent injuries”, she said.
Lily Nolan stated that Teagasc FETAC health and safety courses involve a comprehensive review of farm hazards, an on-farm interactive health and safety session, training in farmer’s health and in manual handling of loads to prevent spinal injuries. Farmer participants completed the legally required health and safety Code of Practice Risk Assessment document for their own farms along with the Safety System of Work Plan.
Tony Pettit, Head of Curriculum Development and Educational Standards with Teagasc and a member of the FETAC council said: “Education is an efficient driver of positive change in the long term. However educational approaches must be tailored to suit farmer needs and involve active participation to gain adoption of the training message. As Teagasc health and safety training courses consistently receive an almost 100% positive reaction from farmers it is clear that the approach being adopted is in line with best practice”, he said.
Tony Pettit also said that Teagasc have provided health and safety training to over 20,000 farmers since the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation was modernised in 2005. While this is a major achievement by international standards Teagasc planned to continue to provide health and safety training as part of its Joint Prevention Initiative with the Health and Safety Authority, he added.
Patrick Griffin, Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) with responsibility for the Agriculture sector stated that the H.S.A were pleased to work with key state and farming organisations through its statutory Farm Safety Partnership advisory committee. He praised Farm Safety Partner member organisations for their strong support for injury prevention campaigns and training programmes, particularly since the upsurge in farm deaths in 2010 when 25 farm deaths occurred.