There is a legal requirement on all farmers just like any other employer to provide a safe place of work as far as is practical. The law is contained in the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 backed by regulations & code of practice to improve farm safety.
Like any enterprise on the farm, health & safety requires management.
A Safety Statement or Risk Assessment Document identifies the key dangers that may cause death or serious injury. A Risk Assessment Document is the minimum legal requirement on all farms. In this document a commitment is made to:
- Provide a safe place of work
- Use safe systems of work
- Provide all machinery with guards, protective equipment, information, training and supervision necessary to protect those at risk
- This document should be reviewed at least annually or when there are changes in the business.
- If a dangerous situation arises work should stop immediately until the hazard or danger is controlled
- Advise all who work on the farm of the hazards
On 1st July 2017 a revised Farm Safety Code of Practice and Risk Assessment Document was introduced by the H.S.A. These documents are green in colour to distinguish them from previous versions. The updated documents will be available from the H.S.A. and Teagasc from August 2017 onwards.
There is an 18 month change–over period to the new documents. Risk Assessment documents already completed remain in force until 31st December 2018.
Agriculture Code of Practice - Health and Safety Authority Code of Practice for preventing injury and occupational ill health in agriculture (PDF)
A written safety statement is only required by farmers with more than three employees. The same commitment is given as above in the Risk Assessment Document but requires more detail to complete.
Who has access to Safety Documents?
All people who work on the farm (including family remembers) must be made aware of the dangers on the farm. Dangers must also be brought to the attention of:-
- Regular Workers
- Casual / Relief Workers
- People supplying services and goods to the farm
An Inspector from the HSA may inspect your safety documents to see that safety measures are implemented on the farm. If they are found to be inadequate the Inspector can advise you to revise it within 30 days. Prosecution is possible for non-compliance.
An accident is reportable to the Health & Safety Authority if the injured employee or self employed person is unable to work for more than 3 consecutive days. Week-ends and other days off are included when calculating days. If an employee is absent as a result of an accident for 3 separate days over a period of time, it is not reportable.
Types of accidents to be reported:
- An accident causing loss of life to any employed or self employed person in the course of their employment.
- An accident to an employee or self employed person that prevents them working for more than 3 calendar days not including the day of the accident.
- An accident to any person not at work caused by a work activity which causes loss of life or requires medical treatment.
The Code of Practice was sent to all herd owners some years ago.