Tipperary farm families get tips on how to stay safe over the summer
While children look forward to being home on the farm for the summer, now is an important time to have conversations about safety.
Tell them about the dangers and set the rules. But don’t expect a child to take on the responsibility of keeping themselves safe. Children do not understand danger.
Farms can be family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present. Tragically, between 2007 and 2016, in Ireland, 23 children lost their lives due to farm accidents.
Summer is a particularly dangerous time for children on farms as they’re off school and are about more when work activity is running at a very high level - often with contractors on-site operating potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery.
It is vital that every possible step is taken to reduce the number of fatalities that happen each year on Irish farms, the first step is educating people, especially children.
If we can instil in their minds from an early age an awareness of the dangers on the farm, and help them to form good farm safety habits, that lesson will be with them for a lifetime.
nFarmyards are not playgrounds. Keep children out of work areas and have a fenced off safe play area in view of the home.
nChildren under 13 years old must not drive or operate tractors or other farm machinery
nChildren under 13 years old must not ride as passengers on tractors, ATVs or other farm machinery.
nPractice what you preach - be a good role model and teach children about the possible dangers.
nHave fencing with mesh right down to the ground - so that children cannot slip through gates and fences or climb over them
nHave easy to read danger signs and tell children what they mean
nNever allow children to play, climb or have access to stacks of bales.
It can be tempting to wear less protective clothing in the summer, but in addition to the risk of sunburn, consequences can be long term. Chronic sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer and fair skinned people (like most of us in Ireland) have a greater risk.
To reduce your risk of skin damage, organise your day.
nSeek shade: UV rays are at their strongest generally between 11am and 3pm, so plan you day and seek shade during these hours.
nCover up: by wearing a shirt with a collar and long shorts. Also wear a hat that gives shade to your face, neck and ears.
nWear wraparound glasses: The sun can damage your eyes after prolonged exposure too.
nUse sunscreen: Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and UVA protection 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours.
Few of us will forget the drought we experienced in Summer 2018. While this weather was unprecedented, it is important to be conscious of working outside in hot weather. Know the signs of heat illness and ways to prevent it to make sure you can be productive this summer.
National Farm Safety Week takes place between July 15-19. For more details see www.ifa.ie