Farm safety should be priority on every farm, just as it is in every other business, according to independent election candidate for Tipperary Michael Lowry, adding that a properly funded farm safety scheme is “a matter of urgency”.

“One of the greatest risks to farmers is the solitary nature of their work,” said Lowry. “Regardless of age, farmers, for the most part, work alone and are isolated from other people.”

He outlined some of the dangers facing farmers, such as using unprotected PTO shafts, slurry agitation in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas, livestock handling and loose clothing becoming caught in farm machines.

Measures proposed

Installing yard lighting is just one of the measures proposed under the farm safety scheme, along with cattle and sheep handling facilities (mobile and fixed), replacing hinged doors with sliding or roller doors, retro-fitting of safety rails on silo walls and re-wiring existing farm buildings.

One of the greatest risks to farmers is the solitary nature of their work

Lowry says that while the major issues raised during the election campaign are of huge importance to the future of farming in Tipperary and throughout Ireland, action must be taken to ensure that farmers are safe in their place of work.

A typical family farming situation now involves part-time farming, with the daytime herding attended to by a senior farmer left to handle large suckler-bred cattle. There were 14 farmers aged over 65 killed in farm accidents in 2017.

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