The health and safety challenge is up for review this week. This was one of the three mandatory challenges for all programme participants, consisting of two objectives - to complete a farm safety risk assessment on an annual basis and to implement two positive health and safety changes on the farm annually. Here we take a look at a selection of the improvements made. I think the key thing to take away from this challenge is that change, in relation to safety, can be as big or as small as it needs to be. From something as simple as replacing lights, right up to constructing a new shed. It all makes a difference.
Monaghan: Wesley Browne completed a simple, but hugely important task on any farm - ensuring all PTOs in the yard had guards fitted. He needed new guards on his diet feeder and slurry tanker.
Donegal: John and Gerard Grieve moved an agitation point from inside the she shed to outside the shed. In the last 10 years, 9% of all Agriculture fatalities were cause by drowning or gas.
Westmeath: Martin Downes had new yard lights fitted and used a hoist to leave the task safe. With the hoist in the yard, he also used it to clean existing yard and shed lights.
Carlow: With his land fragmented and both sides of a busy road, Tom Bolger came up with this simple idea of mounting two mirrors to the front of the tractor to improve visibility pulling out of gateways.
Longford: Robert Abbott implemented one of the most common safety upgrades by installing a head scoop. Over half of the farmers in the programme fitted either a new head-gate or head scoop in the last three years.
Cork: Like many of the programme farmers, Ger McSweeney carried out upgrades to his slatted sheds to increase housing capacity for his growing herd. One of the most important tasks here was to replace any cracked slats.
Carlow: Tom Bolger built this dehorning crate from scratch. A chain will prevent the calf from going down and the animal also exits through the front, reducing stress on the calf and the operator.
Galway: Part-time farmer Nigel O'Kane completed a significant project with the aid of a TAMS grant. This four-bay shed, complete with handling facilities, has made a world of difference when it comes to housing and handling Nigel's herd.
Kerry: John and James Flaherty in Kerry installed a meal bin on their farm. Now using a higher level of concentrates through finishing bulls, the labour is taken out of filling buckets while the meal is now weather- and pest-proofed.