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Creating workplaces, farm or factory, that are safe for everyone

July 16th, 2020 6:30 AM

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A message to our farmer suppliers: With Farm Safety Week set to get underway on July 20th, take the time to prioritise your own wellbeing and the safety of your farm

In a year where we have all had other priorities and distractions as we deal with an unprecedented global situation in Covid, it can be easy to forget about - or think we can press pause on - ‘normal life’, whatever that looks like now.

However, for the farming community, ‘normal’, in the shape of the reports and statistics of lives lost and injuries sustained by farmers and on farms, continued. According to the HSA, there have been 15 fatalities so far in 2020, three involving children and nine involving those over the age of 65.

1 in 10 farms will see a serious accident in the lifetime of the farmer, with most of these caused by tractors or machinery,  and with elderly farmers and children at particular risk.

With all of the hardship that came with the pandemic, there has also been a huge focus on safety, on wellbeing and an amazing community effort to keep people, especially our vulnerable people, healthy and safe.

Employee safety

In Carbery, we have been focused on ensuring employee safety, and on keeping Covid out of our Plant, so we could continue to process milk and produce. We know that huge efforts were also made on farm by all of our suppliers to contribute to managing this situation. We sincerely thank you all for your work to prevent the spread of Covid.

In Ballineen, our health and safety team worked tirelessly to keep people and the plant safe and were assisted by staff who we employed or redeployed from elsewhere in the business to focus on it.

Making sure that we operate a safe and secure environment for our employees, contractors and visitors, is an essential part of how we do business, and we have the resources in place to support this.

Health & safety

Factories can be dangerous places, and our investment in health and safety acknowledges this.

Farms can also be dangerous places, so it is equally important for farmers and us all to focus on making farms, like all workplaces, as safe as they can be. Our appeal to our farmer suppliers, for farm safety week, is to take some time to have a look around at your farm, your practices and your own habits, and try to identify anything which is unnecessarily risky, potentially harmful or any behaviours which are putting you or others under stress.

The great joy of being a farmer is that you yourself are the business, but it is also one of the great stressors. You are worker, provider and business owner. Given the importance of all those roles, why not take the time to safeguard how you work? There are resources available from many sources to help with this.

Check in with your own Co-ops on any promotions they are running for Farm Safety week on safety equipment.

None of us, farmer or processor, wants to experience accidents or loss where they could have been prevented. Safety must be the priority for every workplace. Every worker and farmer should have the expectation that they can return home safely after a day of work.

If only

Every family member left behind, or worker or farmer injured in an accident has one thing in common – if only...

If only we had serviced the tractor or secured the gate or put on that PTO guard or talked to someone. Take the opportunity now to prioritise your own wellbeing, and the safety of your farm, and avoid ever being the person saying ‘if only’.

For more information visit www.ifa.ie.

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