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Ministers Coveney and Nash join farm walk to promote safety

Ministers Coveney and Nash today officially launched ‘Farm Safety Fortnight’, part of the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) farm safety initiative for 2015. The Ministers were participating in a ‘farm safety walk’, hosted by Teagasc, taking place on the farm of Andrew Purcell and Alf McGlew, who are farming in partnership at Grangebellew, Co. Louth.

To demonstrate their on-going support for farm safety, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney TD and the Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD joined together with local farmers and members of the Farm Safety Partnership to look at key messages and areas of risk on the farm. There were four key areas were covered during the walk; yard and building design, tractors and machinery, livestock handling and slurry management.

“The number of farm accidents are unacceptably high on Irish Farms and it is important that we collectively work to improve our safety record’, Minister Coveney outlined. “I have provided a substantial grant aid scheme to support safer farms and it is my intention to provide further support in 2015 but it equally important that farmers themselves increase awareness of farm safety,” Minister Coveney added.

Speaking about working with all stakeholders to improve safety on farms Minister Nash said: “I think that ‘partnership’ is the key word here today. I am very happy to see the various stakeholders, who work through the Farm Safety Partnership to collectively improve safety on our farms, supporting this message”.

Minister Nash added, ‘While inspection and enforcement are important they are just part of a mix that includes prevention and partnership initiatives. Farmers, their families and the wider community can all play a supportive role in raising awareness about improving standards in farming from the ground up.”

The Farm Safety Partnership, which is made up of the major stakeholders, has been instrumental in providing guidance and advice that is straightforward, practical and easily implemented and brings together the various stakeholders from government, industry and farming bodies to work together on farm safety.

The HSA also plans to carry out 500 visits during farm safety fortnight, focusing on areas such as tractor maintenance including ensuring serviceable handbrake, animal handling facilities including facilities for calving, adequate guarding of PTOs and other areas of safety.

Minister Coveney outlined, “I believe we are seeing real engagement now at ground level and what I saw today is further evidence of that. For my part I will continue to support farm partnerships and the development of safety awareness through farmer engagements in Knowledge Transfer groups that we will be setting up across the sectors”.

Ministers Nash and Coveney also reaffirmed that they would continue to work closely together in this important area of farm safety.

Further information on farm safety visit; http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Agriculture_Forestry