Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon TD, launched a video ‘Farm Vehicle Safety and Blind Spots’.
The video is part of the Managing Farm Health and Safety series produced by Teagasc in association with FBD Insurance and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee to the Health and Safety Authority.
The video focuses on increasing awareness and taking steps to prevent being struck by a tractor or farm vehicle, particularly in farmyards, which account for about 80% of farm vehicle fatalities. The video deals with design of farmyards including the segregation of pedestrians and the safe use of the large modern tractors.
The video focuses on ‘Blind Spots’ where tractor driver vision is impeded, meaning that people who are in close proximity to the vehicle cannot be seen by the driver. Shorter in height people and children are even harder to see when in the blind spots. The video demonstrates how tractor speed increases the risk of being struck. Even at 10 kph a tractor travels 2.8 meters per second giving a bystander little time to avoid being struck.
The Farm Vehicle Safety and Blind Spots video has been made in follow-up to PhD research conducted by Aswathi Surendran at the School of Psychology, University of Galway in association with Teagasc at Athenry and Kildalton centres.
Surendran’s research focused on ‘Developing and Pilot testing Behavioural Interventions for Farm Machine Safety’and was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) through the Teagasc BeSafe Research Project. Surendran pointed out that, “though farmers understand that blind spots exist and that tractors take time to stop, they often did not realise how much they couldn’t see and how far a tractor can move after braking.”
The project team wanted to ensure that the workshops’ impact makes a positive impact at farm level. They worked with farmers to help them train their family members and employees about blind spots and tractor speed by running their own workshops on their farms.
Surendran mentioned that farmers who took part described the programme as a valuable and enjoyable learning experience. They enjoyed participating in the blind spot demonstration and shared their satisfaction with the opportunity to participate with follow-up home farm training.
The Farm Vehicle Safety and Blind Spots’ video can be viewed at https://www.teagasc.ie/rural-economy/farm-management/farm-health–safety/videos/.