Farm Ireland

Sunday 16 December 2018

Minute's silence at marts to remember those killed in farming accidents

Cattle in pens at a mart. Photo Brian Farrell.
Cattle in pens at a mart. Photo Brian Farrell.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

A minute's silence will be observed at marts around the country this week, in remembrance of people who have been killed in farming accidents.

It comes as details emerge of two men losing their lives over the weekend when working on farm buildings damaged by Hurricane Ophelia.

It is hoped that the minute’s silence will also promote safety awareness and to further ignite a continuing commitment to farm safety among the farming community, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has announced.

According to ICOS, each Mart Manager will make a speech at 1.00pm and the Minute’s Silence will then be observed.

Michael Spellman, Chairman, ICOS National Marts said livestock farming is a challenging and labour intensive enterprise at the best of times. 

"It is physically demanding and it carries associated safety risks due to the requirements to manage and control animals which requires a careful approach and the need to be alert to danger at all times. There are also serious ongoing risks from machinery and equipment."

He reminded farmers that a routine can take hold when working on a farm and they should remember that the daily routine on every farm is actively reducing and eliminating the safety risks that exist.

“Staying safe on the farm requires vigilance and prevention. Keeping yourself, your family and your workers safe must become a key part of the daily routine for every farmer because one injury or one life lost, is one too many, and none of us ever want that kind of tragedy visited upon us."

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He said that safety must not be left to chance, farmers need to manage health and safety on their farm and effectively plan work activities. "This planning must include planned safety maintenance on farm tractors machinery, equipment, facilities and time management.”

Michael Spellman expressed sympathy and solidarity on behalf of the co-operative livestock farming community to the families of 197 people, including children, who were killed in farming accidents between 2007 and 2016.

He said the high number of serious and fatal accidents is a cause for great concern and changing unsafe working behaviour is the key to sustaining a reduction in the number of serious and fatal accidents on farms.

“A special focus needs be given to farmers 65 and over as they generally represent over 50pc of the fatal accident on Irish farms. The physical capabilities of older farmers vary by individual. While some people maintain good strength, flexibility, eyesight, and hearing well beyond age 65, others do not."

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