A CROWD of over 600 people – some of whom travelled from as far away as Malin Head in Donegal and from Kerry – turned out for the Open Day on farm safety at Mountbellew Agricultural College last week.
All aspects of farm safety were covered during the course of a series of demonstrations and talks including contributions from the IFA, Teagasc, the Order of Malta, the Garda Siochána and Farm Business Skillnet
Anne Mitchell, Chairperson of the Galway IFA Farm Family Committee said that there were tremendously encouraged with the huge turn-out for an event that she hoped would play its part in increasing awareness of farm safety issues.
“We’ve had 15 fatalities on farms so far this year and that really is a frightening figure. We all firmly believe that with a more careful and safety conscious approach, that nearly of those could be avoided.
“But we must look ahead and try and get every farm family in the country to talk about staying safe every morning that they go out on their farms and farmyards,” said Anne Mitchell.
She added that there were four key words that had to be borne in mind, in terms of high risk factors in farm accidents – carelessness, rushing, fatigue and stress.
“Much of the farm safety advice is very basic but the key thing is to follow through with it. For example, farmers should never wear their wedding ring on the farm – it could cost them a finger.
“Secondly, loose clothing and loose strings are a complete no-no on the farm while the red-alert flags must always go up in the context of children on farms or in farmyards,” said Anne Mitchell.
She said that the three big killers on Irish farms continued to be machinery, livestock and falls from heights, while there was a high proportion of those fatalities in the over-65 age group.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.