Social sustainability is one of the three pillars of sustainability, alongside environmental and economic sustainability.

As we come into summertime, farmers need to keep it in mind as the farm becomes a hive of activity for the summer.

Below are a few areas to keep in mind to ensure good health and safety on the farm over the coming months.

Machinery checks

The summer months provide a good opportunity for farmers to run machinery checks.

PTO guards and protective covers should be checked, including O- and U-guards for signs of damage.

Hydraulic oil hoses, rams and couplings should also be checked to make sure they are not damaged. However, while carrying out these checks, it is important to be aware of the risk of high pressure oil escaping which could cause an injury to the skin or eyes.


Sheds will be cleaned out throughout the summer months, and this provides an excellent opportunity to check the condition of the slats.

The lifespan of slats done to grant specification is about 20 years, and the intensive use of slats, letting slurry reach them and stocking with bulls can shorten this lifespan.

The slats should be examined for sagging, cracking, rust-staining or spalling of concrete - when pieces of the concrete start to break away from the surface.

Farmers should not enter the tanks to check. Should replacement slats be needed, they are available under the TAMs Grant at the rate of 40% or 60%, depending on which scheme is applicable to the farmer.

Child safety on the farm

While summer is a busy time on the farm, it’s also when children will be playing outdoors most. The responsibility to ensure that children are kept safe on farms during this busy time falls to family members and those working on the farm.

Sadly, 21 children were killed on Irish farms from 2011 to 2020, the main causes of which were machinery and tractors.

Children on farms must be closely supervised to ensure their safety, especially when silage making gets underway.

Taking time out

Finally, summer is a chance for farmers to take a well-deserved break. While there is silage to be made, it is important farmers take time out for themselves and their families.

Coping with stress and minding your mental health is very important, and can often be forgotten about. Taking breaks and a holiday are important ways to relax and reset.