Farmers are being urged to be vigilant and safety conscious as spring calving gets under way on Irish farms.

IFA health and safety executive William Shortall said: “Spring is the busiest time of year on many Irish farms. Farmers work around the clock, often needing to be up several times a night to check on animals. This can lead to severe tiredness, restricting a farmer’s ability to react quickly.”

On average, 9% of farm fatalities are caused by cow and heifer attacks each year. The risks of such an attack are heightened in spring as heavy workloads lead to tiredness and cows can be unpredictable at calving time and hit out without warning.

The IFA has developed some safety tips for farmers, including:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a neighbour with a difficult cow.
  • Know your limitations, you’re not as agile as you were this time last year.
  • Make sure the calving gate is operating properly.
  • Make sure the calving jack and ropes are fit for purpose.
  • Make sure all dogs and children are out of sight before entering the pen.
  • Make sure the cow is correctly locked into the calving gate.
  • Ensure calving pens have appropriate lighting.
  • Remember there is no such thing as a quiet cow.
  • HSA

    The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has also featured a video of farmer Brendan McLaughlin who had a near escape at calving time.

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