March Farm Safety Shorts
Type Media Article
By Anthony O'Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit
March is a hugely busy month, with cows calving, ewes lambing, slurry spreaders and spinners at work.
Do a safety check- When entering your farmyard in the morning; take a quick look around to see that all is in order with no apparent safety risks.
Slurry Spreaders and Spinners - Check machinery before starting any slurry spreading or fertiliser applications. Ensure PTO guards are in place. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jackets with dangling drawstrings or cords. The braking system of tractor, including the handbrake, needs to be in full working order.
When agitating slurry, no children, OAP's or bystanders should be present. Open all doors and outlets to ensure thorough ventilation. Remove all stock from slatted sheds before agitating. Never enter a cattle shed when it is being agitated. As most deaths associated with slurry are due to drowning, caution is urged when working close to open slurry manholes. Close safety grills and agitation points after each use.
Calving Aggression - When calving, ensure cows/heifers are safely secured in a fully operational calving gate. Cows generally become very agitated directly after calving. After a cow calves, leave the cow and calf alone for 20 to 30 minutes to bond. This will allow the cow to calm down. Remain vigilant at all times. Ensure that the cow is isolated and secure when tagging. If calving aggression lasts for more than a few days, cull the cow by slaughter after the calf is weaned as aggression is a genetic trait.
Hygiene - Be wise; exercise a high level of personal hygiene at lambing or calving time. Wear protective latex gloves when handling new-born stock. Ensure soap, a First Aid kit with waterproof plasters and disinfectant is available at all times.