Calls to sack farm workers filming stunts for social media
Footage being shared on social media of dangerous behaviour on farms and roads has been described by farm leaders as "disgusting", with calls for offenders to be sacked.
Hundreds of videos and pictures are emerging on social media clearly captured by the drivers of tractors and often with footage extremely dangerous activity.
In one video post on TicTok a young man is seen riding on the bonnet of a tractor while it is raking up grass for harvesting. In another a young person is seen standing on the drawbar between tractor and trailer, while it is being driven on the road.
And, despite farming's horrific farm safety record, images of serious accidents are also being shared on social media with comments such as 'bad day at the office!!' or "some days are worse than others".
In the case of a recent incident were a fully loaded silage trailer nearly fell off a bridge "tip it anywhere he said" one observer commented.
It comes as Gardai raised significant concerns over the use of mobile phones while driving tractors.
The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) told the Farming Independent it is aware of the growing problems of mainly younger tractor drivers in contractor fleets who are breaking the law, and putting lives at risk, by using smart phones for creating videos while driving tractors.
“Using smart phones to create videos is now a significant management issue for many contractors during silage seasons 2020,” said Michael Moroney, chief executive of FCI.
“We are aware of significant numbers of videos being posted to various social media outlets which seem to portray contractor operations during silage harvesting as some form of entertainment,” he added. “This behaviour undermines the seriousness and dangers associated with using high output modern machinery in farm contracting operations.”
We are urging all contractors to immediately sack any drivers found to be using their smart phones for recording and publishing work related videos to social media outlets as they are endangering themselves, other road users and ultimately putting the future of the contracting business at huge risk, as well as adding significantly to insurance claims.”
The President of ICMSA Pat McCormack said people driving tractors while filming themselves for upload onto social media platforms was "dangerous, irresponsible and had to stop".
McCormack said that he was appealing to these young drivers – specifically young men – to recognise the incredible dangers this practice represented and to stop it immediately.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said people recording pranks with farm machinery was “grossly irresponsible and is an accident waiting to happen. I am disgusted that people could be so casual and have no regard for the dangers involved in what they are doing,” he said.
“All farmers and contractors need to make it clear to their employees that engaging in these practices is a sackable offence,” he said.
Mark Cullen, Assistant Chief Executive with the Health and Safety Authority said, “The antics of the farm workers is these videos is shocking.
"Not only is there a complete lack of even the most basic safety precautions, there is a complete lack of common sense and total disregard for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
"It’s only pure luck that some of these individuals have not been seriously injured or killed. Farmers and contractors must take a zero tolerance approach with this type of behavior and make it clear to farm workers that under no circumstances is it acceptable. The workers themselves need to seriously reflect on their actions and consider the consequences for themselves and their families if a serious incident occurred.
"The Health and Safety Authority will not hesitate to take robust action where we can identify the individuals and the employers concerned,” he said.