FF Farm Safety Agency Bill progresses in Seanad

John McNamara (far right), Teagasc Health & Safety Specialist discusses ATV with farmers at a recent Teagasc and HSA farm safety event in Clonakilty. Photo O’Gorman Photography
John McNamara (far right), Teagasc Health & Safety Specialist discusses ATV with farmers at a recent Teagasc and HSA farm safety event in Clonakilty. Photo O’Gorman Photography

Fianna Fáil Senator Paul Daly has said it is imperative that farm safety is taken seriously and that a standalone agency take responsibility for farm safety.

Senator Daly was commenting ahead of second stage of his Farm Safety Agency Bill in Seanad Éireann.

“At the moment, the HSA is the state agency responsibility for workplace safety including farms, yet there are too many tragic fatalities in the sector. In fact, we recently learned that the number of farm inspections has declined by over a third in four years.

“Without real accountability it seems that the issue slips between the cracks. A standalone farm safety agency would build trust with the farming community and work closely with all stakeholders in the farming sector to devise and implement long-term policies and programmes to bring about positive change”, he concluded.

"The aim of my bill is the creation of a stand-alone body focused on improving safety for Irish farmers and their families," he said.

'Pure lunacy'

Silage contractors working "round the clock" to get through jobs has been described as "pure lunacy" by the head of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), Pat Griffin.

He called on contractors to calm the intensity of their operations through the busy first few weeks of the silage harvest.

"Contractors and their employees are working from 6am to midnight and beyond and that is pure lunacy, and it is happening at the present," Mr Griffin told the Farming Independent.

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"Most people can cope with a few days of shortened sleep but once it gets past that you can become like a zombie.

"The silage season so far has been really bad and every second day we are now getting word of something dreadful in.

Fatigue

"We know that there wasn't a contractor to be got in the country over the past week, but if you combine very long working hours with fatigue and rushing from one job to another, it is a recipe for accidents to happen.

"Every survivor I speak to says they had been pushing it a bit.

"When they have lost a leg or an arm it is too late, and it may even have been worse. They could be paralysed for the rest of their life, and all because of trying to do too much in the particular day."

Last week a Longford farmer was fatally injured by an animal - the 10th officially recorded 'farming fatality' of 2019. And the HSA claimed that at least five more accidents which occurred on farms are under investigation, and may be classed as 'farm deaths'.

Farming remains Ireland's most dangerous sector in terms of work-related deaths: 17 people lost their lives in farm-related accidents in 2018. Between 2013 and 2017 the average number of farming-related deaths was 22.

Online Editors


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