Sunday was a very bad day for farming in Ireland. Two more needless deaths occurred as men worked on repairing shed roofs damaged in Storm Ophelia.
The incidents which occurred in Wicklow and Cork highlight once again the dangers of farming. Farming is still the most dangerous profession in the country claiming 21 lives last year.
Whilst one of the farmers fell from a teleporter it should be noted that while operating and in a teleporter, one must wear a safety harness. Its standard practice in the construction industry which had 11 deaths in 2016 nearly half the number of farming.
While working on shed roofs be aware that sheets of light may be dirty and may appear as a normal sheet. Sheets of light will not take your weight.
Working on older roofs may also pose risks as older sheeting may bend or give way under your weight.
The HSA advise to:
- Carry out risk assessments for work at height activities and make sure that all work is Planned, Organised and carried out by a competent person
- Follow the General Principles of Prevention for managing risks from work at height – take steps to avoid, prevent or reduce risks
- Chose the right work equipment and select collective measures to prevent falls (such as guard rails and working platforms) before other measures which may only reduce the distance and consequences of a fall (such as nets or airbags) or may only provide fall-arrest through personal protection equipment.
Taking a small moment before you start the job might just save your life. Do the safety check and do the right thing.