The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has today issued a fresh appeal to farmers and contractors to prioritise farm safety as the current warm weather sees a large amount of farm activity taking place throughout the country.
The Minister said with farmers making the most of the warm weather, that working hours are longer.
While adding that there are fresh dangers with children also taking advantage of the sunshine.
He said ‘Farmers and contractors are taking full advantage of the current excellent spell of weather and are literally making hay while the sun shines. This of course means longer working days and added pressure to get seasonal harvesting work done. This weather also means a lot of children are out and about on farms, and it is critical that safety is foremost in everyone’s mind and that we take steps to avoid injuries, or worse, the loss of life. I have too many times seen the devastating impact that farm accidents can have on a family’.
He asked farmers to be safety conscious when making silage to avoid accidents. He said that working with high-powered machinery and the fatigue of longer working days are major factors in accidents happening. He says history shows that taking extra precautions will help ensure safety.
Minister Creed also pointed to the approaching school holidays as another reason to be extra cautious. He also pointed to the 12 fatalities in the country in 2017 so far as a reason to worry.
The Minister highlighted some of the key safety messages, including child safety and operating machinery safely, to be observed during this busy period.
The Department also offered tips and advice on how to increase safety precautions on farms.
They advise that children should not be allowed in tractor cabs, and say no child should be permitted near the area where silage is being made.
Farmers are also advised to properly maintain all tractors and equipment, regularly checking them for faults.
They advise contractors to only allow competent drivers to operate machinery during the busy season and to avoid carrying passengers of any age.
They also suggest that farmers should never clear blockages by hand unless the machine has been switched off and time has been given to ensure it is off.
Finally, they urge drivers to remove keys during maintenance problems and to take care on public roads.
The Minister also drew attention to the upcoming Embrace Ecumenical Service which will be held in Abbeyleix this Sunday, the 25th June at 2 pm.