The Health and Safety Authority will begin a two week national farm vehicle inspection campaign, with a focus on the safe use of tractors and quad bikes (ATVs) on farms.
The HSA remains concerned with safety issues around farm vehicles in Ireland. A specific focus is being placed on tractors and quad bikes (ATVs) as they continue to be the leading cause of vehicle related fatality on Irish farms. In the five year period 2017 to 2021 there were a total of 40 vehicle related fatalities on Irish farms. Of the 40 vehicle related fatalities 21 involved tractors and 7 involved quad bikes (ATVs). Of the 7 quad bike (ATV) related fatalities, 2 involved children and 5 involved people over 60. Of the 21 farm fatalities involving tractors 12 involved people aged 65 or over.
According to Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, “we’re running this inspection campaign to encourage farmers to take time to plan for the safe use of tractors and machinery ahead of the busy silage harvesting season. We urge famers to plan ahead this year and make sure they themselves and all workers or contractors have the necessary skills and competence to do the job safely. Safe systems of work that minimise risk must be planned and followed by all involved. Training must take place if it hasn’t already, particularly for new operators, to ensure the safe use of machinery. The condition of the machinery is also vital and any required maintenance should be addressed now well in advance of use, particularly to steering and braking systems.”
The majority of injuries and fatalities with tractors or farm machinery involve a combination of unplanned maintenance procedures, operator error, lack of training and the presence of children/elderly near work activity.
Farmers need to consider the following:
- Has the work activity been planned in advance?
- Have all drivers or operators received adequate instruction and training?
- Are handbrakes or parking brakes working properly?
- Are cabs and doors in good condition?
- Are tractor mirrors clean, in good condition and set correctly?
- Is work organised to avoid the presence of young children or other vulnerable individuals such as elderly family members?
Pat Griffin added, “we are asking that all farmers complete the new Farm Risk Assessment document available through www.farmsafely.com which has a dedicated “harvesting” checklist to help identify any necessary improvements. Serious injuries or further deaths can be prevented if farmers plan their work in advance, ensure important precautions are taken and remember to “Keep People and Vehicles Separate to ensure Safety.”
For further information in relation to tractor and machinery safety on farms and a wide range of other farm safety topics, visit www.hsa.ie
To undertake the online risk assessment visit www.farmsafely.com
Source: Health & Safety Authority