Minister Creed urges farmers to prioritise farm safety

Farmers and agri-contractors have been urged to put safety first as many are busy making hay and silage amid soaring temperatures.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed issued a fresh appeal to farmers and contractors alike to prioritise farm safety, warning that a combination of high-powered machinery and fatigue due to long hours behind the wheel are factors that can increase the risk of accidents.

“Farmers and contractors are taking full advantage of the current excellent spell of weather and are literally making hay while the sun shines. This of course means longer working days and added pressure to get seasonal harvesting work done,” said Mr Creed.

“This weather also means a lot of children are out and about on farms, and it is critical that safety is foremost in everyone’s mind and that we take steps to avoid injuries, or worse, the loss of life. I have too many times seen the devastating impact that farm accidents can have on a family.”

So far this year half of all workplace deaths have taken place on farms – with 13 deaths linked to agriculture.

Safety experts have also warned the farm can be a high-risk place for older people, with eight deaths so far this year over the age of 70.

Mr Creed also urged farmers to check and ensure all safety precautions are in place on farms with school holidays fast approaching.

Safety for children on farms

  • Contractors must not allow children to ride in tractor cabs.
  • Children should not be allowed to play around the farmyard or fields when silage is being made.

Operating machinery safely

  • All tractors and other equipment need to be properly maintained and in good condition. Breakdowns, due to poor maintenance, can lead to delays, adding extra cost and more pressure to an already busy schedule.
  • Only competent drivers should be allowed to operate machinery during the silage season and the carrying of passengers should be avoided. All guards must be in place on all equipment – in particular PTO shafts – must be properly guarded.
  • Never clear blockages by hand until the drive has been switched off and sufficient time has been allowed for the machine to stop completely.
  • Remove keys from tractors during maintenance operations.
  • Take care when driving on the public road and watch out for other road users especially when entering or leaving fields or yards.
  • Keep all lights and indicators in working order.

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