Today, Tuesday of Farm Safety Week focuses on Machinery and Transport. Poorly used or faulty machinery is a major cause of death and injury on farms. Half of all fatal accidents on farms involve farm vehicles or machinery.
Farmers come into contact with a host of machinery daily – combines, choppers and hay balers which bring their own attendant dangers. Hands, hair and clothing can be caught by unguarded PTO shafts or other unguarded moving parts such as pulleys and belts. People can be injured by front-end loaders, falling from a moving tractor or being struck by its wheels.
Machinery accidents can be prevented by keeping the machine in good repair, fitting and ensuring all safety equipment (such as guards, safe access platforms and ROPS on tractors) are operating with the machine at all times and not taking risks when working with powerful machinery.
According to Caroline Farrell, IFA Farm Family Chairperson, “Everybody in farming knows somebody who has been injured or killed in an accident. This Farm Safety Week we are calling on farmers not to rely on luck when working. Agricultural machinery is dangerous and can rip off a limb or kill in seconds. Always ensure equipment is switched off when making routine checks or maintenance and always take your time to think about what you are doing and what might go wrong as making a few simple checks could actually save a life – maybe your own!”
Teagasc Safety Specialist Dr John McNamara drew attention to the fact that 50% of farm deaths are related to farm vehicles and machinery. “This is a huge safety risk factor in July and into the autumn period due to high vehicle and machinery movement with harvesting activities and the fact that children are on holidays.”
He appealed to farmers to drive slowly, particularly in farmyards, “A vehicle travelling at fast walking speed (8kph) covers 2.2 meters per second putting any bystander at high fatality risk if struck.”
The Teagasc Specialist noted that 15% of farm vehicle and farm deaths in 2017 were due to ATVs. He said that having training to use an machine is crucial for safety, drivers need to be agile to shift their weight on slopes to stabilise the ATV and most importantly ATV speed needs to be contained. Lightweight but safety certified helmets are now on the market and it is imperative that such a helmet is worn, he added.
For more information on Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland visit www.ifa.ie/farm-safety or follow @IFAmedia on Twitter using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek