With a top prize of €1,000 and two €500 prizes on offer in our #makeonechange safety competition, we’ve been inundated with entries from farmers showing the farm safety changes they have made on their farms.
The idea behind the competition is that if we can encourage small changes on thousands of farms across the country next week, we will make our farms safer and, in turn, keep our families safe.
Here are some of the most recent entries to the competition.
James Cleary, Bree, Co Wexford, made a hydraulic flipover yard scraper to prevent farmers from being distracted by pulling a rope from the back of the tractor to flip the scraper.
“The scraper is flipped over from in the cab of the tractor while looking in front of you, using the joystick to release the pin,” James told the Irish Farmers Journal.
He added: “The scraper is on the front loader, so farmers aren’t jumping in and out of the tractor rushing and then causing them to slip and break an ankle while jumping out of the tractor in the rain.”
The location also avoids the farmer walking behind the tractor to hook the standard scraper on to the three-point, preventing a scenario where the tractor could roll backwards and trap the farmer between the rear wheel of the tractor and the scraper.
David Power from Bree, Co Wexford, added a safety frame and steps to his disc harrow to make it easier and safer to fill the seeder.
Bobby Miller from Stradbally, Co Laois, has a suggestion for all farmers to think about.
“One of the biggest problems with safety is we are so familiar with our own farms that we do not notice the risks and hazards the way we should,” he explains.
“My idea is that we should introduce “4Eyes” to your farm. It sounds hi-tech but all it entails is a pen and paper or your phone to record information and four extra eyes to walk your farm with you.
“Get two of your farming neighbours or family members and just walk around the farm and get them to point out what they consider a risk or hazard.
“Make it an annual event and return the favour to your farming neighbours if asked to participate.
“The mug of tea and a chat is optional but one question should be part of the chat ... Are you OK? It’s OK not to be OK. The safety of our farm is very important but our own health is paramount!”
Leslie Armstrong from Coagh, Co Tyrone, sent in this photo of his equipment holder.
“I made a frame that fits an old lick bucket, so when working with livestock in the crush I can put all the equipment I need for the job in the bucket and frame. As the frame sits on the rail, I can slide it up and down the crush to where needed,” he outlined.
“It keeps all my drenches, marking sprays, medicines, syringes, notebook and animal tags safely off the ground, clean and accessible. I can also use the frame on the field gates when putting cattle and sheep licks in the fields with the livestock as I know this will prevent badgers from gaining access to the animal links.”
Cathal Ahern from Kilfinny, Co Limerick, said he always makes sure every stock bull on the farm has a nose ring with a chain of three to four feet in length attached.
“The chain ensures that the bull stays well back from the electric fence wire. It also helps to discourage the bull from running as the chain swings from side to side, hitting him on his face,” he said.
Philip Stewart from Chapel Lane, Co Longford, retrofitted a hydraulic motor on to his dribble bar tanker, getting rid of the need for the PTO shaft.
Stephen McGrath from Castlegar, Co Galway, added an extra layer of protection to his goggles.
“While using safety goggles I have found that they do not fit snugly and tightly enough around the eyes. Small fragments of flying debris from a chainsaw or strimmers sometimes will find their way inside the goggles.
“To prevent this, I have fitted an additional shield on to the goggles as an additional safety measure to protect the eyes.”
Kenneth Walsh from Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford, installed a safety walkway to the side of the waiting pens leading up to the crush.
“This means no person would have to enter the pens while animals are present to move them forward. There are access gates from the walkway to each pen and all backing gates are spring-loaded to aid in this process,” he explained.
Michael Callinan from Cloonanaha, Co Clare, added a step-up to his cattle crush for ease of use and safety.
“It reduces the need to hop up on the bar of the gates to reach and stretch over cattle. The sides of the race are high enough to prevent animals from jumping over them, and the handling facilities are properly secured to the ground and to each other for maximum strength,” he said.
“The step-up can be folded back and out of the way securely. There is a jockey wheel on the front gate of the cattle crush to allow the heavy gate to run smoothly to open and close.
“The jockey wheel is a fantastic job and it spares me lifting it open and closed. It is a great job. The step-up makes dosing and handling cattle 10 times easier and I can move up and down the crush at a safe level above them.”
Callinan added that he wants to erect skylight safety cages on all the roof skylights around the farm this year.
“This is the only safety precaution that is not in place on the farm. I believe these are vitally important for anyone working on a roof. They are crucial and are in the pipeline to do over the course of the year,” he said.
Reader Cathal Nyhan sent in this photo of an added safety precaution when emptying the slurry tank.
“A hole was made in the side of tank and covered with a cage when extracting slurry from the tank. This reduces the risk of anyone falling into the slurry tank when the manhole is open,” he outlined.
Josh Hynes from Larch Hill, Co Laois, swapped the door type on his shed to improve safety.
“The swinging door was dangerous in wind because every time you go to open the door, it would swing back at you. It caused a couple of minor injuries so we changed it to a sliding door instead to make it safer,” he said.
Maeve Cremin from Kilfinny, Co Limerick, sent in a simple idea that makes her family’s farm safer for both children and adults.
The colour green is Maeve’s favourite colour and her father, Patrick, has covered all the bulls on the farms in bright green paint to identify them easily in the herd.
The paint is clearly visible and Maeve likes to explain to her younger sisters and cousins when visiting about the dangerous bulls and how never to enter a field without checking for the green paint. Green is for danger on the Cremin farm.