CAUTION is strongly advised when working with, or near farm tractors, vehicles or machinery to reduce the risk of farm deaths and injury.
This call was made by Dr John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist following release of fatal accident data, which showed that 80% of deaths in the first five months to the end of May 2016 were associated with farm vehicles and machinery. In 2016, five people lost their lives in farm accidents in the first five months, compared to six in 2015 and 12 in 2014.
Speaking at this busy time on farms, John McNamara said: ‘One death, or injury is one too many and a high state of vigilance is needed as the busy summer work season progresses and the school holidays approach. Reversing the recent trend of farm deaths, due to “knock-downs or being crushed” by tractors and machinery, will only be achieved by strong farmer vigilance.
‘Farmers should also pay particular attention to parking tractors safely, applying the handbrake and lowering hydraulic equipment, to reduce the safety risk to themselves and others.’
Dr McNamara also called for high vigilance when using power driven machinery due to the possibility of gruesome entanglement fatalities and injuries. ‘All power shaft and machine guards need to be kept in place and the power must always be switched off before approaching a machine,’ he said.
The Teagasc specialist also called for greater vigilance on farms related to the safety of children as school holidays approach. He said that, over the last 10 years, fatal accidents involving children were associated with tractors (75%); falls or collapses (17%) and drowning (8%).