'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: inspections, milk price and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for 16 February 2019.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that there will be some mist or drizzle at times on Saturday morning, but most places will be dry during the day.

More general rain is forecast to develop along the west coast by evening.

It will be mild and breezy, with highs of 10°C to 12°C in southerly winds.

In the news

  • In pictures: silage 2019 kicks off in February in Kilkenny.
  • The board of Aurivo met on Friday and increased its January milk price.
  • Farmers are being driven out of business by over-zealous and unaccountable inspectors, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said.
  • Applications for the BEEP scheme, which has a funding provision of €20m, will be accepted up to and including next Friday 22 February.
  • Some 66 projects from across the country will be allocated funding of €62m under the €1bn rural regeneration and development fund.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Nathan Tuffy reports from Balla Mart.
    Fly-tippers return to burn rubbish to prevent identification
    A farmer who spoke out against illegal dumping and promised to search bags to find the culrpits spurred those responsible to return and burn out the rubbish.

    A farmer who said he would search through illegally dumped rubbish on his farm found it burnt to ashes when he returned two days later.

    Speaking on RTE’s Countrywide earlier in the year, tillage and livestock farmer Michael Doran from Co Wexford said he was targeted on two separate occasions by dumpers after Christmas.

    Bags of rubbish, mattresses, old clothes, children’s toys and household appliances were among the items dumped. At the time, Doran said it was his intention to search the bags in an effort to identify those responsible.

    I went down on the Monday and someone had put a match to it and burnt all the rubbish

    However, after the show aired on Saturday, and in a bid to prevent identification, the rubbish was reduced to a pile of ashes and burnt metal.

    “I went down on the Monday and someone had put a match to it and burnt all the rubbish,” Michael said.

    He said the farm had been preparing for calving and it had been a struggle to find the time to conduct the search.

    Men in vans

    Michael said there were a number of theories about where the rubbish had come from. Some people said they had seen adverts on various platforms from men in vans offering to take rubbish away for €25 to €30.

    “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” Michael warned. “That rubbish is being offloaded on properties like mine.”

    In a bid to tackle the issue, county councils are to introduce an inspection system similar to the TV licence. Homeowners will be asked to produce evidence that they are disposing of their waste legally to cut down on “men in vans”-type operations.

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    Foot and mouth disease found in Australian airport seizures
    A number of products seized at Australian airports since December last year have tested positive for foot and mouth disease.

    Pork jerky, sausages and other pork products were seized by officials from the Australian Department of Agriculture in airports in the last three months.

    Two samples tested positive for foot and mouth disease, while one tested inconclusive. In total, more than 280 samples were tested for the disease to date this year.

    African Swine Fever was also detected in six of the December samples and 40 of this year’s samples, according to a report by ABC news.

    Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said that he “won't tolerate travellers risking Australian farming.”


    It is estimated that a foot and mouth outbreak could cost Australia’s livestock industry up to $60bn.

    "[If] borders close we can't trade live animals, we can't send meat products out of the country except to other countries that have FMD,” biosecurity expert and Melbourne University professor Tom Kompas said.

    The Victoria Farmer’s Federation said that penalties need to be more severe on people who bring in biosecurity hazards.

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