The air ambulance has been called out to 38 farming-related incidents so far this year, involving incidents such as tractor PTO shaft accidents, falls from heights and animal attacks.

Macra na Feirme and the Irish Air Ambulance have teamed up to launch a social media campaign and try to ensure that there won’t be any more farm incidents and farmers prioritise safety as the busy silage season gets underway.

How would you feel if it had to land in one of your fields?

“Farmers are aware of the many dangers on farm, and always endeavour to ensure these risks are mitigated,” Macra na Feirme president John Keane said.

“However, we know that accidents are going to happen in the weeks ahead, and we are appealing to people living in rural Ireland to stop and think about what they are doing, and whether it is safe. Not every accident will result in death, but many cause serious injury and all cause disruption.

“We are grateful that the Irish Community Air Ambulance service can respond, but the question for farmers is simple. How would you feel if it had to land in one of your fields?”

Munster worst affected

Cork, Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford are the counties most likely to require the air ambulance and the Irish Community Air Ambulance works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is within 30 minutes flying time of any location in Munster.

“As a rule, we are only ever called to the most serious incidents where patients have suffered significant trauma. Our message to farmers, in conjunction with Macra na Feirme, is to please think of risk as they go about their day. Our message is simple. Irish farms are a great place to land a helicopter – you just don’t want it to be our air ambulance,” CEO of the Community Air Ambulance Michéal Sheridan said.

Farming accidents

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon TD also highlighted his concerns and thanked both organisations for the campaign.

“Tragically every year farming accounts for over 40% of all fatal workplace incidents nationwide. It is time for a cultural change towards farm safety, where we all play our part in driving down the unacceptably high levels of farm safety incidents. So please remember to plan a safe silage season,” he said.