Motorists told to 'expect the unexpected' as busy silage season begins
All rural dwellers and visitors have been urged to be extra vigilant as silage harvesting gets under way.
Denis Drennan, from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association (ICMSA), said many farmyards will be a hive of activity with contractors and farmers under pressure to harvest silage as quickly as possible.
"It's crucial that both farmers and contractors ensure that all work is carried out in a safe environment and at no time should safety standards be relaxed," he said.
He appealed to all other road users - particularly visitors to farming areas - to be aware of the dangers of increased agricultural traffic on rural roads and the need to slow down and "expect the unexpected" around the next corner.
The ICMSA spokesperson said that special responsibility obviously falls on contractors.
It comes as the Health and Safety Authority began an intensive inspection campaign last month with a focus on the safe use of tractors and machinery on farms. Over the last 10 years (2009- 2018), over half (51pc) of all fatal farm injuries involved vehicles (30pc) and machinery (21pc).
In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of fatalities involving farm vehicles, particularly quad bikes, with four related deaths in 2017 alone.
Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, said: "We're running this campaign earlier this year, ahead of the busy silage harvesting season."