The Rise and Falls of Farm Safety – Farm Safety Week Day 3

Farming carries an above-average risk of falling accidents. Falling from heights or being struck by a falling object account for nearly 20% of all farming fatalities, demonstrating that ‘Falls’ must remain high on the list of farming risks to be managed.

Contrary to the popular image of fresh air and peaceful surroundings, a farm is not a hazard-free work setting. Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and too many die in farming accidents. In fact, despite the promising news that there is some behavioural change occurring in the industry, agriculture continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in Ireland.

According to Martin O’Halloran, Health and Safety Authority Chief Executive: “Any fall from height can lead to long-term injuries and make it difficult to remain in farming. Most accidents of this type happen either because the work is not properly planned, the risks are not recognised, proper precautions are not taken, or the equipment used is either defective, not appropriate, or used incorrectly.

“Never carry out work at height unless you are competent to do the work and have the right equipment for the job. I am sure many farmers believe it will ‘only take a few minutes’, and take risks in the hope that simply being very careful will be enough.”

“It is human nature to think ‘it won’t happen to me,’ but unfortunately it can, especially if we continue to take risks, whether major or minor.” says Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity behind Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland.

“Taking preventative, proactive measures is one of the best things we can do for our farm and workers. Most preventative practices are common sense. Tragically, most accidents are caused by simple factors such as habit, haste, fatigue, and improperly maintained machinery. By working collectively as an industry we hope that we can persuade farmers of all ages that this week, and every week, farm safety is a lifestyle, not a slogan.”

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