Setting the standard in farm safety
With the silage season approaching, now is the time to take stock of farm safety
From the moment they walked into the farmyard of Tipperary agri-contractor Thomas Moloney it was evident to the judges of the Zurich Farming Independent Farmer of the Year awards that safety was never far from his mind.
Teagasc health and safety specialist John McNamara said there are two sides to safety on every farmyard. "One is the machine maintenance and yard layout and the Moloneys are excellent at that as you can see," said Mr McNamara. "The second one is organisation. They train their staff and read HSA and Teagasc materials on safety but most importantly they apply it."
Mr McNamara said both Thomas and his father James, who also keep cattle for finishing, always strive to do the job right and safety is always a top priority. "They think about safety all the time that is what is superb about this farm," he said.
Moloney Agri, based in Clogheen, Co Tipperary, operate 11 New Holland tractors, six hedgecutters, baling, raking, tethering, slurry equipment and also offer specialist tree cutting services.
Mr Moloney said spring and summer months were busy periods for farmers and contractors.
"I find keeping it neat, and tidy and organised is key," said Mr Moloney. "Organisation is king in preventing accidents - planning ahead always helps.
"Maintenance is key - you have to have the machines very well maintained to ensure nothing will go wrong, brakes and things like that. A lot of our operators would undergo a lot of training before they start and are briefed on the safety statement and risk assessments.
"They would have completed courses on hedge cutting, putting out road signs, safe pass and manual handling courses. They would also have occupational first aid." Their work with Irish Rail cutting hedges has also brought an extra safety aspect to his business.