Martin Heydon, Minister of State with special responsibility for Farm Safety at the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, launched IFA’s Farm Safety Week 2022 highlighting the need to protect farmers and farm workers by implementing a culture of farm safety practices into everyday work life.
The launch kickstarts a week of events shining a spotlight on farm safety and encouraging farmers to join the challenge to make one change during Farm Safety Week to make their farm a safer place to work and live. Speaking at an IFA Farm Safety event in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, the Minister said, “my main message to farmers is they are their farms only irreplaceable asset. Without them there is no farm. I am calling on every farmer to look at their farm and identify one change they can make to make it safer. It might be changing a damaged manhole cover, fixing a light on the tractor, buying a helmet for the quad – big or small identify one thing and fix it. Right now, farms are the most dangerous workplace in Ireland and that has to change.”
IFA President Tim Cullinan encouraged farmers during Farm Safety Week (18th to 22nd July) to take time to review working practices to ensure a safe place to work.
“The rate of farm accidents and fatalities is too high and we need to make change and think safety first. It is essential that we reduce the risks in our workplace. Every safety procedure put in place will reduce the risk of accident or worse. We need to adapt a stronger culture of farm safety, and we are asking farmers to do this now.”
2022 marks the tenth annual Farm Safety Week, a collaborative campaign, initiated by the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) in the UK and led by the IFA in Ireland. It brings together farming organisations from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England on the topic of farm safety.
Farm Safety Week is an annual event in the IFA calendar. Vehicles and machinery account for 50% of farm deaths, with the elderly and children at increased risk. Prevention, training, maintenance and safe work practices are essential to good working practice.
IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Alice Doyle said the aim of this year’s Farm Safety Week is to urge farmers to make a change now, to protect their families from life-changing and life-ending incidents by taking steps to create safer working environments, saying, “all too often we put tasks on the long finger and can increase the risk of accident and even death. The message for this year’s campaign is: Let’s Make a Change Now. The research shows that there is a notable increase in farm fatalities in July, this Farm Safety Week let’s buck the trend and aim to reduce the number of accidents on farms and bring about a change in culture that makes unsafe practices socially unacceptable.”