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Minister Smith highlights the importance of Farm Health and Safety

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today expressed concern that 9 people have lost their lives on farms so far in 2010 and is appealing to all farmers to give health and safety priority on their farms.

As tractors and machinery, livestock and falls are the most common causes of fatalities on Irish farms, the Minister is urging farmers to:

  • Ensure that P.T.O. shafts have proper guards in place and that all safety features on tractors and machinery are in proper working order,
  • Take proper precautions when handling livestock and to be extra vigilant at this time of year with cows calving, and
  • Ensure that proper harnesses and safety equipment is used when working from heights.

The Minister reiterated his full support for the farm health and safety initiatives being undertaken by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee. 

He said that "the key to managing health and safety on farms is to complete the Farm Safety Code Risk Assessment Document and for farmers to act on it".

He would like to remind farmers that completing the Farm Safety Code Risk Assessment Document is a legal requirement. A hardcopy of this document was sent to all farms in November 2006.

On the 17th February, the HSA launched a new online version of the Farm Safety Code Risk Assessment and is available on their website www.hsa.ie or click on farm safety under the Customer Services section of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's website.

The Minister also advises farmers to consult the Code of Practice for Preventing Injury and Ill Health in Agriculture, which is designed to improve the level of health and safety in the agriculture sector.

The majority of accidents on farms are foreseeable and with proper health and safety management and planning these accidents can be avoided.  The Minister urges farmers "to take time to identify risks and to plan safety into their daily routine as the human tragedy that surrounds the loss of a life to a farm accident cannot be comprehended".

Date Released: 15 April 2010