With spring calving now underway on many Irish farms, IFA Health and Safety Executive William Shortall has urged farmers to be particularly vigilant to ensure their own safety.
An average, 9% of farm fatalities are caused by cow and heifer attacks each year, with farmers more vulnerable to accidents at this time of year due to tiredness brought on by the heavy workload of spring. This is compounded by the fact that heifers and cows can be unpredictable at calving time and may hit out without warning.
According to IFA Health and Safety Executive William Shortall, “Spring is the busiest time of year on many Irish farms. Farmers work around the clock, often needing to be up several times a night to check on animals. This can lead to severe tiredness, restricting a farmers ability to react quickly.”
The IFA has developed some useful tips for farmers to help keep them safe, including:
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a neighbour with a difficult cow or calving
• Know your limitations, you’re not as agile as you were this time last year
• Make sure the calving gate is operating properly
• Make sure the calving jack and ropes are fit for purpose
• Make sure all dogs and children are out of sight before entering the pen
• Make sure the cow is correctly locked into the calving gate
• Ensure calving pens have appropriate lighting
• Remember there is no such thing as a quite cow