Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Experts mucking in on farm safety demos

Derek Casey

Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30

Pat Griffin senior inspector with the HSA.
Pat Griffin senior inspector with the HSA.

FRS Training (Farm Relief Services), and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are rolling up their sleeves and mucking in to bring practical interactive farm safety demonstrations to the forefront of this year's FTMTA Grass and Muck.

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The organisations will be focusing on three farm hazard areas: safe handling of bales and crush zones; PTO safety; and spraying compliance in an interactive and engaging way.

The aim is to stress the everyday dangers and show farming families how safety can be improved down on the farm.

One special area of focus will be on the safe operation of machinery when handling bales with the emphasis on how to set up 'crush zones' during this task and prevent impact injuries.

Topics such as the right equipment and attachment, stacking and de-stacking of bales, transporting and loading bales, will form part of the demonstrations to inform farmers on how to control the hazard and minimise the risks.

Information on managing workload, stress and pressure will also be available as these link strongly to the cause of accidents.

"I believe many of these crush injuries and deaths are actually caused by excessive workload, pressure, stress, improvising and taking short cuts," says Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the HSA.

"These factors coupled with fatigue, can be a lethal combination. By managing workload the risks can be reduced."

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Turning to an area that farmers need to be compliant in and protect their health and the environment, pesticide spraying and sprayer testing will also be demonstrated on the day. Along with the safe operation of PTO shafts, the farm safety demonstrations will cover many areas that are important for farmers to know about.

There was a 40pc decrease in the number of fatalities last year compared to 2016,, but farming remains the most dangerous occupation in Ireland. Around 2,500 non-fatal accidents causing injury occur on farms annually. Jim Dockery from FRS Training said: "We encourage farmers to farm safely and responsibly.

"This involves training themselves, their staff and their families through the many health and safety courses and demonstrations available.

"At the event we will demonstrate the consequences of poor farm safety practices and demonstrate the simple practical changes that can be made to achieve good farm safety practices," added Mr Dockery.

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