Farming continues to be the most dangerous occupation, with seven people losing their lives in farm accidents so far this year.

The EMS gathering in Killarney, Co Kerry, included a farm accident workshop for emergency responders last week. Browse the gallery above for photos of the simulation demonstrations performed during the event.

Next week, Teagasc adviser Niall McCabe will host another one-day farm accident response course in Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, open to farmers and their families. He says the focus will be on both what to do if there is an accident and how to prevent one.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Niall explained what the day would involve.

“We will meet in the morning and go through the key farm issues. Then, in the afternoon, we will go to Aidan Fortune’s Tullylough House farm on the outskirts of Cavan town.

“There will be lots of practical demonstrations involving mannequins, so people know how to help someone.”

From machinery to livestock

Two medical professionals, Niamh Gaffney and Terry Dore, will also be there on the day.

Terry, a paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade, and Niamh Gaffney, an emergency medical technician and full time first aid instructor, will be covering the key areas of accidents on farms.

“On the day, we will cover machinery, livestock, heights, slurry tanks, how to identify if someone is unconscious, CPR and how to look for injuries.”

The first hour after an accident is crucial

Paramedics say that the time between an accident and emergency services arriving has a huge impact.

“The first hour after an accident is crucial. Simple things like lying in the yard if there are wet conditions means a person can deteriorate very quickly.

“We will also cover accident awareness and how to carry out a risk assessment in your own farm,” Niall added.

Why are farms so dangerous?

Niall thinks that there are a whole host of reasons why farms are one the most dangerous workplaces.

“Family and farms are so intertwined that it is very hard to separate the family scene from the farm. A lot of it can be out of the farmer’s control when it comes to livestock or machinery. Also, a lot of farmers work alone, so if there is an accident, it could be some time before they are found.”

In terms of education and the green cert, Niall says that safety should always be to the forefront and he is in favour of a bigger emphasis in schools.

“If young people were educated in first aid and safety precautions, then they would have it for life.”

Farm families are encouraged to attend as, very often, it is the farmer who will be in trouble.

Niall says that other family members may not be familiar with the farm and therefore not know how to help in an emergency: “A family member may not be familiar with how to stop electricity, turn off a tractor, move a bull or if the farmer is injured, what to do with them or how to get them in the recovery position.”

The course takes place in Ballyhaise on Thursday 23 June and those who wish to attend need to register as places are limited. To register, contact 049-433 8300.

There is a €40 charge and for the second family member, there is a €20 charge.

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