The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has urged farmers to take caution when carrying out work at heights as it launched a two-week farm inspection campaign focused on working safely from heights.

HSA farm inspectors will be informing farmers of the risks associated with working at heights and advise them on the safest way to complete such work.

It stated that factors which may increase the risk of danger when working on roofs included whether repairs might have weakened the roof structure or if roofing had deteriorated with age.

Transparent roof sheeting which has become brittle or has been painted over can also pose risks to those working on roofs.

The past decade has seen 15 farm fatalities result from working at heights, with one such incident reported this year so far.

Risk of death

Speaking at the campaign launch, senior inspector for agriculture with the HSA Pat Griffin commented that completing a risk assessment and understanding the dangers associated with working from heights is essential for farmers doing such work.

“A fall from a height can lead to a very serious life changing injury or even death, taking shortcuts or carrying out work without due regard to the risks involved is not an option,” said Griffin.

“We know working at height is part of the work activity on a farm, but we are urging farmers to plan and organise their work to ensure their safety and health.

“For example, if you’re planning on repairing a shed’s roof or clearing gutters on sheds, you need to complete a simple risk assessment and think about the safety measures you can put in place to ensure safety or maybe seek out a competent contractor with the right equipment to carry out the work safely.

“If you don’t have the right equipment, don’t take the risk - leave it to a competent contractor.”

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