'Don't want to spend on farm safety? Think of the cost of a funeral'
The cost of preventing accidents on farms came up at a farm safety event this week, but experts say there is a lot you can do to make your working environment safer without spending money.

"People that don’t want to spend anything on farm safety really need to know how much it costs to go to hospital for a night, or sadly as too many people understand, how much it costs for a funeral." These were the words of Patrick Griffin, HSA senior inspector, who was speaking at the farm safety event held jointly with Teagasc at Clonakilty Agricultural College on Friday. "Think about those costs and then think about your safety when you are working. We have to make sure we spend that bit of money to keep ourselves safe because the alternative isn’t great,” he added.

Reducing fatalities in agriculture remains one of the biggest challenges faced by the HSA in a year which has seen 22 deaths to date in the sector.

Many of the questions from farmers regarded the inability to invest in extra safety measures due to lack of profitability on farm. Pat acknowledged the issue but after seeing first-hand the aftermath of accidents he was in a mood for straight talking.

If they can’t farm safely I think they need to think about whether they can stay in that farming business or not

“If they can’t farm safely I think they need to think about whether they can stay in that farming business or not," he said. "That said, there are a lot of things you can do on a farm that don't cost you money but they will protect you or make your farm a safer place. It won’t cost you more money to minimise the amount of reversing you do in your yard.”

Listen to Patrick Griffin and Garda traffc corps officer Brendan Condon in our podcast below:

Teagasc health and safety officer John McNamara said farmer management of health and safety issues is the essential component of preventing farm accidents. According to him, short-term changes in behaviour are needed to secure safety. In the long term, farms need to be managed to minimise risk. He reminded farmers that under the TAMS II scheme considerable grant aid is available to implement health and safety improvement measures on farms.

"Winter ready"

The event focused on planning to be "winter ready" for adverse weather events, including electrical safety, building maintenance and use of chainsaws on farms.

One of the best-received stops of the day was a demonstration by An Garda Síochána on trailer licences and towing capacity. Garda Brendan Condon of the traffic corps advised those present to look out for a high towing capacity when purchasing vehicles for towing trailers. He said: “We’re two years on the road doing events like this and nine out of 10 people will do what you ask them to do, but the person I meet at an accident is the one that didn’t.”

A round bale on the back of your tractor could be obscuring the tractor lights

With evenings pulling in, Garda Condon recommended increasing the visibility on tractors. “If a car driver comes up behind you and you have a round bale on the back of your tractor it could be obscuring the tractor lights. You’re then left with what the car driver can see. If you have a beacon then they will know there is a slow-moving vehicle ahead and they have to be careful.”

If a beacon wasn’t an option, he offered an alternative option: “Put something reflective on the back of the cab, because you could have a lighting failure. Reflectors will still stay working no matter what.”

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The farmer's daily wrap: ATM thefts, BPS and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday 20 April.

Weather forecast

Saturday is forecast to be a warm and dry day, with sunshine developing after clearance of mist and fog.

Met Éireann has said that it will stay cloudy in Connacht and west and north Ulster, with some light rain or drizzle there along the coast.

Afternoon temperatures will range between 15°C and 16°C in the northwest to between 17°C and 22°C elsewhere.

In the news

  • A tractor, low-loader and digger were used in the early hours of Friday to rob two ATMs in Kells, Co Meath.
  • Vigilante animal activists could face up to 12 months in prison for sharing personal information which allows them to target and trespass on farms, if the current Australian government is re-elected.
  • Over 55,000 farmers have applied to date to the Over 55,000 BPS applications made to date" target="_blank">2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
  • Representatives from FBD have blamed the cost of high insurance premiums ‘Cost of insurance is too high’ – FBD" target="_blank">on people who are too willing to make insurance claims and the Irish legal system, which is too generous with pay-outs.
  • The annual silage harvest at Dublin Airport began on Thursday.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • The connection between passport applications and BPS applications.
    Fire-fighters battling huge gorse fire in Donegal
    Two houses have already been taken by the blaze, which is raging in the Annagry area of the county.

    Fire-fighters and locals in the Annagry area of Donegal are fighting a gorse fire which has destroyed two homes in the area.

    The Donegal Daily reports that eight units of Donegal fire brigade are battling the blaze.

    It also reports that locals are fighting the fire.

    The Malin Coast Guard is helping to assess the area currently being covered by the fire.

    One Twitter user tweeted an image of smoke from the fire earlier today.

    The fire comes following a a condition orange fire warning, which called on forest owners, farmers and rural dwellers to be vigilant over the bank holiday weekend for fires.

    There is a high risk of fires this weekend as a result of easterly high pressure conditions and forecast high temperatures.

    These conditions mean that a high fire risk exists in all areas where hazardous fuels such as gorse, heather, dried grasses and other dead vegetation exist.

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    In pictures: 2019 silage season takes off at Dublin Airport
    The annual silage harvest at the country’s busiest airport began on Thursday.

    Tractors and mowers were called into action to kick off the 2019 silage season at Dublin Airport on Thursday.

    Over 200ac of silage will be made at the country’s largest airport over the next two days, according to Ciarán Hoey, one of the tractor drivers on the job.

    A team of seven drivers was operating the fleet of butterfly mowers, a harvester, six trailers and Massey Ferguson tractors to make silage in the short time window.

    “With security being very strict, it will be a highly co-ordinated harvest,” explained Hoey.

    The grass will be drawn a short distance to a nearby farmer for pit silage.

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    Watch: Silage 2017 kicks off in Dublin Airport

    Easter weekend: hazy with highs of 23°C in parts