The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will begin a week long inspection campaign focusing on health and wellbeing of farmers. Research has shown that farmers are at higher risk of certain health and wellness conditions due to the nature of their work. These include:
- Heart disease
- Back pain
- Mental health issues
- Lung issues
- Hearing loss
- Skin problems and cancers
Earlier this year the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC), an advisory committee to the HSA Board, developed a health and wellbeing guide for farmers which was circulated to farms across Ireland. As farming is unpredictable, demanding and often hazardous, HSA inspectors will be identifying and discussing the risks posed by the above health and wellness conditions with farmers during this campaign and will be promoting the guidance and resources available.
Pat Griffin, Senior Agriculture Inspector, HSA, said, “we’re undertaking this inspection campaign to focus on farmer health and wellness issues and to encourage farmers to think about and consider their health and wellbeing. It’s critically important for farmers to recognise any health problems early and get treatment from their healthcare practitioner as early as possible. Poor health and wellbeing can also increase the risk of having a serious or fatal injury on your farm.”
The FSPAC recognises the significant pressures and challenges faced by farmers in relation to their physical and mental wellbeing and have developed guidance to assist farmers in looking after their physical and mental health. The guidance offers advice on the various health issues that pertain to farmers and their work. An awareness video highlights the story of a farmer who struggled with his mental health and, importantly, how he eventually reached out and took the first step to seek the support he needed.
Pat Griffin continued, “we know farmers work hard to protect nature, the land, their animals and machinery, but it’s important that they also assess and protect their own health and wellbeing and ensure its given priority in their working lives. The resources are available and we would encourage all farmers to utilise them. Remember, the saying “your health is your wealth” is so true in farming.”
Source: Health and Safety Authority