The Health and Safety Authority has been urged to issue a directive to farmers on the maximum height for the loading/construction of silage pits by The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI).
The FCI has conveyed its concerns on the issue of silage pit safety and it claims that silage pit heights are climbing to dangerous levels.
The association has also brought attention of the matter to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed TD and the Minister for State with responsibility for the Health & Safety Authority Pat Breen, TD.
A spokesperson for the FCI said that there is up to 15% carry-over of silage due to an earlier grazing season this year, and that “many farmers are expecting/forcing farm contractors to put more silage into existing silage pits”.
The FCI assert that they have received a number of phone calls from contractors where farmers are stipulating/forcing them to work on pits over 10 metres (35ft) high.
The Health and Safety Authority is being asked to issue a Working Height Directive for silage pits, limiting the height to a maximum height of six metres or alternatively, to twice the height of the silage pit retaining walls.
The FCI are advising all farm contractors to exercise extreme caution in the construction of high pits of silage.
The call comes weeks after the publication of the FCI Factsheet for Farmers which urged farmers to reasonably manage any risks from farm work, such as filling silage pits, to protect the health and safety of contractors.