Tipperary farming: silage contractors and farmers urged to take care over coming weeks

Tipperary farming: silage contractors and farmers urged to take care over coming weeks

Tipperary farming: silage contractors and farmers urged to take care over coming weeks

The Health and Safety Authority is urging all farmers and contractors to carefully plan their work and complete their risk assessments as the busy silage season gets underway.

It comes as the latest data shows tractors, vehicles and farm machinery are the biggest cause of farm-related fatalities, accounting for over half of farm-related deaths from 2011 to 2020.

Over the past decade, 113 people, 18 of whom were children and young persons under the age of 18, have been killed in farming-related workplace incidents involving tractors, vehicles and machinery.

“We’re advising farmers to take time to plan for a safe silage season,” said Nenagh native Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority. “Serious life changing injuries can be prevented and lives can be saved if farmers and contractors plan their work in advance, ensure important precautions are taken and make safety their number one priority.”

He urged urge all farmers and contractors to review their risk assessments. Complete the Farm Safety Risk Assessment document or do it online at www.farmsafely.com which includes a dedicated checklist to help identify any necessary safety improvements.

The majority of fatalities with tractors and farm machinery involve a combination of poor planning, operator error, lack of training, maintenance issues or the presence of children/elderly near work activity.

Farmers need to consider the following questions ahead of silage season:

- Has the work activity been planned in advance?

- Are all operators competent and fit for work?

- Are handbrakes or parking brakes working properly?

- Are cabs and doors in good condition?

- Are tractor mirrors cleaned, set and maintained correctly?

- Is work organised to avoid the presence of young children or other vulnerable individuals such as elderly family members?

- Are traffic flows and limits on pit heights agreed?

- Is operator fatigue monitored and managed?

The HSA said farmers should check all tractors and machinery were suitable for the job and properly maintained, paying particular attention to checking brakes, steering, hitching of trailers and ensuring good driver visibility.

It was important to check that all tractor and machinery operators were skilled and competent in the operation of the machinery assigned to them and that they knew and understood the system and workflow to be used that puts everyone’s safety first.

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