“Rethink safety” is the theme for this year’s Farm Safety Week, with the aim to reduce the number of incidents on Irish farms.
David Russell, Zurich farm insurance ambassador and farmer, has outlined a number of farm safety tips from machinery to livestock to children on farms.
David Russell Zurich farm insurance ambassador.
Machinery Maintain your vehicles at any costs necessary. If you cannot fix it properly, take it to someone who can – there is no point taking a risk with your life in order to save money. Consider your visibility by keeping windows cleaned and mirrors in the correct position. Drive at the appropriate speed for your load to avoid losing control. Ensure drivers are skilled and competent in the machinery assigned to them.
Livestock Make sure you have good, decent, handling facilities on your farm, especially when you have big numbers of livestock such as bulls, cows and calves. Incidents involving animals can become severe quickly, so it is vital you work with animals safely. Have an escape route in case animals become aggressive.
Don’t risk burnout Often, there is a level of complacency when you’re in a routine on the farm, but this is when accidents can happen. Take regular breaks and take time to recharge when needed. The summer months can be some of the busiest during the year, and with the evenings becoming longer, you can be fooled into working extra hours. Do the right thing and enlist extra trained hands to support on the farm, while you can take a break.
Children Keep track of family members and where they are playing/what time they are expected back. Growing up on the farm can be the best thing ever, but the farmyard is an incredibly busy place that offers many dangers for adventurous children. Have a safe and secure play area for the children to prevent them from playing near livestock and machinery. Keep children away from moving farming machinery, vehicles and animals unless accompanied.
Risk-assess your farm Use the quieter months during the year to take the time to risk-assess your farm. Use a fresh set of eyes to look at your farm. We can become so accustomed to our surroundings and may not notice what an external person could spot as a danger.