Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon has voiced his full support for Farm Safety Week as he called upon all farmers to rethink their attitudes to the risks present on working farms.
Farm Safety Week is running from Monday 19 July to Friday 23 July 2021 with the aim of encouraging improvements in the safety of farms.
“We must stop taking chances, stop the old habits and stop condoning bad practice. It is important that all farming organisations encourage farmers to change their behaviours in relation to farm safety,” the minister stated on Monday at the launch of Farm Safety Week.
No individual action or organisation can solve this difficult problem
The week will see collaboration between groups across the sector to achieve the goal of reducing the incidence of safety incidents, injury and fatalities on farms.
“No individual action or organisation can solve this difficult problem that impacts so negatively on so many lives each year. We must all work together and review our attitude to safety on our farms,” he said.
So far this year, there have tragically been three fatal farming incidents in Ireland.
“Now is the time to redouble our efforts in relation to safety, to continue to reduce the risk and to work towards the behavioural change that is required to keep the rate of fatal incidents down,” the minister encouraged.
The IFA is running a “Rethink Risk” campaign this Farm Safety Week to encourage a proactive approach to safe farming which wants farmers to stop for a moment and reconsider potential hazards to safe farming on their farms.
“I very much welcome that the IFA are leading the ninth annual Farm Safety Week. It is important that every organisation involved in agriculture continually raises the need for farmers to farm safely and I am delighted to see the farm body getting fully behind this initiative,” Minister Heydon commented on the campaign.
As #FarmSafetyWeek comes to a close today, Minister @martinheydonfg reminds people to mind one another and that #farmsafety includes mental health.— Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (@agriculture_ie) July 23, 2021
To be able to focus on our farms, we must also care for ourselves.@TheHSA @IFAmedia
Minister Heydon also reminded farmers of the merits of conducting risk assessments on farms in order to help identify and protect against farm safety hazards.
“There are plenty of ways to reduce the risk, without spending huge money. The first of these is to complete a farm risk assessment,” he continued.
The minister recommended that farmers conduct their assessments with another person present, as a farmer may become accustomed to their own working environment and lose the ability to correctly identify all risks present.
It is a case of being aware of the risks
“While there are many risks in farming, farming does not have to be a dangerous occupation. Behavioural change is what is required to prevent many accidents. It is a case of being aware of the risks and taking the time to do what is necessary to minimise them,” the minister said.