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Thursday 23 November 2017

Skimping on safety gear can come at a terrible cost

Michael Somers, Teagasc Forestry Department advises farmers on safety procedures when operating a chainsaw at a Teagasc - Health and Safety Authority Farm Safety Practical Event in Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co Cork. Photo O'Gorman Photography.
Michael Somers, Teagasc Forestry Department advises farmers on safety procedures when operating a chainsaw at a Teagasc - Health and Safety Authority Farm Safety Practical Event in Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co Cork. Photo O'Gorman Photography.

Claire Fox

A training course should be compulsory for any farmer planning to buy a chainsaw, says HSA Chief Inspector Pat Griffin (pictured).

He described the low number of farmers who have completed a chainsaw course as "alarming".

"It's alarming. I think we need to get to a situation where you actually have to have training before you buy a chainsaw, that's where I'd like to go," he said.

Teagasc forestry advisor Michael Somers showed farmers some of the safety features that modern chainsaws have compared to older models, including the scabbard, the chain break and the chain catcher.

"Saws made in the 1970s and modern saws are different things. There's now instruments there to protect the person doing the cutting, such as the scabbard.It's very simple and basic but can protect your fingers and clothes when not in use," he said.

Mr Somers told farmers that chainsaws are the number one cause for fatalities across land-based industries worldwide.

Pat Griffin
Pat Griffin

He added that chainsaws are associated with superficial injuries such as hearing loss and white finger, which damages the user's sense of touch.

He urged farmers to buy the necessary clothing needed to operate chainsaws.

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The gear includes a visor, ear defenders, ballistic nylon trousers, padded gloves, a safety vest, non-slip boots and to have a phone and first aid on your person at all times in the event of an emergency.

"Some say that €300 is too dear to pay for the gear. The only thing is at least you'd have your leg at the end of it. It costs €12,000 to bury someone, simple as."

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