As farmers, we often wait until we hear or see something that has gone wrong before changing the way we work or the way we operate. Given the structural changes on Irish farms, we have and must become more proactive in changing how we operate to make it easier and safer for everyone.

On the dairy and sheep side, we have increasing scale and fewer family workers. On the suckler farms, we see more part-time help required and owners working off-farm a lot of the time. Thankfully, there are signs of safety improvements on a lot of farms. However, the nature of farming – moving animals, larger herds, staged development and manual work – makes the job that little bit more risky than many other roles.

All this means there is an onus on farmers right across the country to operate in a safe and tidy manner so that in the long-term, the industry is a safer and more pleasing place to work and able to attract good staff that are willing to work in the industry.

At this stage, we are well aware of the risks in farming and the structural changes – bigger farms, less help and more stock mean the job is not getting easier. However, there is better equipment, more purchasing power with larger herds, and better training available which goes a long way to making farm work safer for everybody. Excuses are not good enough anymore.

Putting yourself and others at risk

If you or fellow workers are working in dangerous conditions, then you take your life into your own hands and put the lives of others at risk. As part of Safety Week 2019, take it on yourself to make at least one change for the better on your farm to improve safety.

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