Safety day is a good start, but now what?
The first National Farm Safety Awareness Day held last week was a good idea by the IFA. They should be applauded on bringing this crucially important yet notoriously flat subject to the top of the farming agenda.
No one really wants to read about statistics and how they might be worse or better than last year's figures, but by having a day dedicated to farm safety the media exposure given to this most unsexy of subjects has been notable.
The Health and Safety Authority, other farming organisations, various publications and even the state broadcaster gave special attention to the subject over the past week. This is to be heartily welcomed because as long as safety is fresh in the news, it's fresh in farmers' minds.
But therein lies the problem, because where do we go from here? A one-day "blitzkrieg" of farm safety awareness is better than no day at all, but the fact remains that farm safety policy to date isn't working. I don't want to be flippant about the efforts being made by all parties - especially the HSA - because everyone is on the same team for this one.
I wrote a few weeks ago how I think it's time for the HSA hierarchy to change tack if they are to reduce the on-farm carnage.
They need to be bold and start delivering more shocking and realistic advertising so that farmers can see the types of injuries and deaths machinery and cattle cause every week in Ireland.
Whatever must be done to catch our attention and make the consequences of an accident hard to forget should be done.
The Road Safety Authority's strategy of shocking TV ad campaigns proved an unequivocal success in terms of reducing deaths on our roads. It would work for farm deaths as well.
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