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Agri Students to be 'Champions for Safety' 

At the National Ploughing Championships today (Tuesday 25th September) the Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc have called for students in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry and Equine studies to become ‘Champions for Safety’. The students will be trained to highlight health and safety issues on farms and land-based enterprises in a constructive and positive manner.

Speaking about the initiative, Martin O’Halloran CEO of the Health and Safety Authority stated that, “The Champions for Safety project will be a very positive way of increasing engagement on practical health and safety issues among both young and practicing farmers.

The positive engagement of young farmers in health and safety will help to foster a strong safety culture, reduce death and injury on farms and improve the overall health of farmers.”

It is planned to roll out the ‘Champions for Safety’ project at a series of seminars at agricultural and horticultural colleges during October and November. The seminars will be addressed by Mr Peter Gohery a Galway farmer who lost a limb in a farm accident and will outline to students the appalling consequences of farm injuries.

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc commented on the importance of farmers influencing each other. “There is strong evidence from the United States that inter-generational dialogue has a powerful role to play in improving safety engagement. However, training in the use of influencing skills is needed to make this approach successful. This training is being included in the health and safety module undertaken by all Teagasc Trainees.”

Also at the Ploughing Championships today the HSA & Teagasc re-launched an information leaflet for farmers on the dangers associated with slurry and a brochure for half-day training programmes on farm safety.

The aim of the leaflet is to provide a focus on the key safety issues associated with slurry.

The national programme of half-day training on the Farm Safety Code of Practice will be provided at Teagasc Advisory and Training Centres throughout the country. Since the Code of Practice was launched, 22% of farmers nationally have completed the training.

Mr John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Officer stated that 950 students enrolled in Teagasc training courses this autumn with almost 4,000 students enrolled in total.