The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is urging all farmers and contractors to carefully plan their work and complete their risk assessments as the busy silage season gets underway.
It comes as the latest data shows tractors, vehicles and farm machinery are the biggest cause of farm-related fatalities, accounting for over half of farm-related deaths from 2011 – 2020. Over the past decade, 113 people, 18 of whom were children and young persons under the age of 18, have been killed in farming-related workplace incidents involving tractors, vehicles and machinery.
“We’re advising farmers to take time to plan for a safe silage season,” said Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority Mr griffin said he would urge all farmers and contractors to review their risk assessments. Complete the Farm Safety Risk Assessment document or do it online at www.farmsafely.com, which includes a dedicated “harvesting” checklist to help identify any necessary safety improvements”.
The advice is to plan the work in advance, assess if all operators are competent and fit for work, are all brakes working properly including handbrakes, are cabs and doors in good condition, are traffic flows and limits on pit heights agreed, is operator fatigue monitored and managed and finally work should be organised to avoid the presence of young children or vulnerable individuals in the work area.
The majority of fatalities with tractors and farm machinery involve a combination of poor planning, operator error, lack of training, maintenance issues or the presence of children/elderly near work activity.