The 11th annual Farm Safety Week (FSW) commences this week. Initiated by the Farm Safety Foundation in the UK and led by the IFA in Ireland, it has the support of more than 400 partners in five countries – here, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
IFA President Tim Cullinan encouraged farmers to take time this week to review working practices to ensure their farm is safe for them, their families and anyone else who may be on their farm.
“The rate of farm accidents and fatalities is too high, and we need to make a change and think safety first. We must reduce the risks in our workplace,” Tim Cullinan said.
Increased vehicle safety will be a key focus this Farm Safety Week. Recent HSA figures show that tractors account for 53% of vehicle-related deaths, with the elderly and children at increased risk. The new Quad Bike (ATV) Regulations require that all operators of quad bikes complete a quad bike training course provided by a registered training provider to a QQI Standard or equivalent. Additionally, operators must wear appropriate head protection while operating a quad bike. The Regulations come into force in November 2023.
“Every safety procedure reduces the risk of accident or worse. We need to adopt a stronger culture of farm safety, and we are asking farmers to do this now,” he added.
IFA National Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Alice Doyle said this year’s Farm Safety Week aims to urge farmers to make farm safety a way of life, to protect their families from life-changing and life-ending incidents by creating safer working environments.
“It is essential that farmers prioritise farm safety and put health and safety issues at the top of their agenda,” Alice Doyle said.
Deputy Martin Heydon, Minister of State with special responsibility for Farm Safety at the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said, “Farm safety is not something to be considered occasionally. It must be incorporated into every aspect of farm life. Farming involves risks, but these can be reduced by promoting a culture of identifying and mitigating risks before any job takes place”.
“Farming should never cost an arm, a leg, or a life, and I urge all farmers to use this week as an opportunity to commit themselves and their families to make their farms safer places to live and work,” he added.
Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Mara stated that Teagasc strongly supports Farm Safety Week 2023 and encourages farmers to use the week to invigorate health and safety management on their farms. For more on Farm Safety Week 2023, visit www.ifa.ie/farm-safety-hub/