Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for farm safety Martin Heydon has urged farmers to take time to ensure a safe silage harvest.
Minister Heydon said, “silage harvesting is already underway in earnest in many parts of the country. It is an exciting time on farms that signals the start of summer, but it can also be an extremely dangerous time too. We know the pressure that farmers and agricultural contractors alike can be under to get the work completed. I would urge everyone involved over the coming days and weeks to take some extra time to ensure it is completed safely as well.”
Over half of all fatal incidents on farms involve vehicles or machinery while longer working days during the summer months can increase the risk of incidents due to fatigue.
Minister Heydon added, “we know where the risks are when it comes to silage harvesting. It is important to plan ahead, identify the risks, and take action to mitigate them to ensure a safe harvest for everyone.”
Taking the following steps can help ensure a safe silage harvest:
- A safe system of work should be in place and properly communicated to all.
- All machinery should be in a good state of repair, fully serviced with all protective guards in place.
- Everyone involved should be properly trained and know their role.
- The routes that the machinery will be taking should be known and there should be good visibility at the farm entrance and all field entrances that are being used.
- Warning signs should be erected near entrances to fields and farmyards.
- Silage pits should be checked to see they are in good repair and not overfilled.
The Minister concluded by emphasising, “it is vital to keep vulnerable people, especially children safe and away from the silage harvest. Friends, family, visitors and fellow farmers not involved in silage making should also stay away from the yard and meadows.”