Teagasc and H.S.A. Launch Farm Safety Training Programme
Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority launched its annual Farm Safety and Health Training programme at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, County Laois. The programme will assist farmers to complete the Risk Assessment requirement of Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation. Half-day training courses will be held at Teagasc Advisory and Training Centres throughout the country over the coming months.
A new joint Teagasc/Health and Safety Authority leaflet on the dangers associated with slurry handling was also launched.
Speaking at the launch, Minster for Business and Employment, Mr Gerald Nash T.D., emphasised the importance of risk assessment training and slurry safety. Minister Nash said, “It is important that we focus our energies on reducing the large numbers of serious and fatal accidents that are occurring on farms each year. So far this year, 22 deaths have occurred compared to an annual average of 18 over the last 10 years.”
Minister Nash added: “I would encourage all farmers to get some level of safety training and be aware of the dangers that slurry can pose. I would also like to compliment the Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc for working together to help raise awareness on farm health and safety issues.”
Martin O’Halloran, CEO of H.S.A. said that “Given the continued level of serious and fatal injury in the agriculture sector, the Authority see it as more critical than ever, that every farmer takes the opportunity to upskill his/her knowledge of farm safety. We welcome and value greatly the efforts of Teagasc to continue to roll out this important training to farmers. The vast majority of farmers who have undertaken the course to date have found it very beneficial and improved their understanding on how to manage farm safety better. We would ask farmers to attend a course. What could be more important than to protect yourself and your loved ones?”
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said that “Safety on farms is of the utmost importance to prevent tragedy, pain and suffering and to protect livelihoods. Teagasc is strongly committed to providing health and safety training and follow-up advice to farmers. So far 30% of farmers have completed risk assessment training, and I now ask farmers who have not already attended a course to do so over the coming months.”
Teagasc Health and Safety Officer, Mr John McNamara who co-ordinates farmer training on health and safety, stated that feedback to the training had been universally positive, with almost 100% of participants recommending the training to fellow farmers.
The Safe Slurry Handling leaflet which was launched aims to prevent drowning and gassing farm deaths. Mr Patrick Griffin, Senior H.S.A inspector responsible for the agriculture sector stated that over the last ten years 14 persons have died in slurry related incidents. The leaflet emphasises the importance of having adequate guarding of access to slurry tanks to prevent drowning, and choosing windy conditions to prevent slurry gas poisoning.
A brochure on farmer training courses on risk assessment document and the Safe Slurry Handling leaflet can be obtained at Teagasc Advisory Offices or on-line at www.teagasc.ie