Farm safety has been a topical issue for the past number of years in Ireland. Safety analysts look at the numbers of fatal accidents that happen in sectors of society and base their case for action on these statistics. The statistics show that Farming remains the most dangerous occupation in Ireland.
Why Are Stats So Important?
Well the statistics are factual, they are reliable, they are serious, and they get people’s attention. Like road fatalities they are what’s known as “news items”.
We are all made aware of the number of fatal accidents that happen on our roads every year and we seldom hear on the news that someone broke a leg or arm in a road accident, but these accidents far outweigh the number of fatal accidents.
Likewise, on farms the minor or non-fatal accidents far outweigh the number of fatal accidents and these are the ones that can be reduced with extra attention to farm safety.
The major companies in the USA review their safety record based on the number of accidents per 100 or per 1,000 in the workforce, not fatalities, and use this as a barometer.
In Ireland there are, on average, approximately 5,000 non-fatal accidents on farms every year. Out of approximately 120,000 farmers, this means 1 in every 24 farmers will be involved in a farm accident every year. Look at it another way - one of your discussion group members or local IFA branch members are likely to have an accident every year on the farm.
What Are We Going To Do To Prevent This Continuing?
1 : Comply with the legal requirements
Complete a Risk Assessment document online or in hard copy. This takes up one day of your time - just 1 day.
Once completed you are in compliance with the legal requirements of the Safety Act. So you can have peace of mind. If you have 3 or more employees then you will need a full Safety Statement. That may take 2 or 3 days to complete. FRS Training can assist you with both. Call FRS Training on 1890 20 1000.
2: Address your moral obligations to protect yourself and others
By moral I mean - what are you going to do to make your farm safe for any one working on it or visiting it. How committed are you to this?
3: Continuously monitor safety on all areas of your farm
This means taking each area of the farm and looking at what might potentially cause an accident and asking what can I do about it before something happens?.
In some areas this will cost money, but money well spent - don’t you think? - just ask anyone you know that has had an accident.
In most areas, “improving safety” does not cost money. It often involves applying good habits and questioning what might happen if I do something in a particular way and is there a potential danger facing me? Just stop and think.
4: Seek guidance and safety training to ensure you are being as safe as possible
FRS offer a wide range of health and safety courses for farmers. Just call FRS Training to discuss your needs or check out our Agricultural/Farm Safety and Health & Safety courses on www.frstraining.com.
Safety With Children On Farms
The Health and Safety Authority (H.S.A) have reported that elderly farmers and young children remain the most high-risk groups to farm accidents.
As a farmer and father of young children, I get asked on a daily basis, ‘Daddy can I go down the yard?’ In almost every case I have to think for a minute before I say “yes”. Even though it is relatively safe, I have to think, was I doing something that I didn’t finish or secure? And it’s that moment of thought that keeps farm safety continuously in my mind. I have told my children, as a golden rule in the house, that they can’t go down the farm without asking. Most times they respect this, but when the friends arrive sometimes normal house rules can go out the window. It is very important to tell children about the dangers and openly talk about dangers and safety with them.
Farmers Learn From Each Other
I am a great believer in farmers visiting each other’s farms and casting an eye on safety. You can pick up good ideas and also point out things to others that may not be safe. “Two heads are better that one” and don’t be afraid to talk safety when on each other’s farms, but do it in the right context.
I would encourage you, as farmers, to take a lead on an area of safety that you have applied to your yard and publicise it to others, gloat on it if you have to! - it will certainly do no harm and it may be of benefit to others.
Farm safety is all about each farmer taking ownership of “safety” on their own farms and not expecting someone else to do it for them.
And a good day to start is today..
FRS Training assists farmers in completing Risk Assessment Documents and can help complete your Safety Statement. Check out our free health & safety information & advice section on our website – www.frstraining.com
We provide a wide range of training courses - from business management to the practical training courses on tractors, ATV Quad bikes, chainsaws and chemical handling. Courses can be tailored to individual needs or to a group.
Talk to us today on 1890 20 1000 or visit www.frstraining.com for a full list of FRS Training Courses.