Rethink Safety – Farm Safety Week

Photo © Pat Flynn

Today marks the start of Farm Safety Week, with this year’s message simply to ‘Rethink Safety’.

The ninth annual initiative aims to encourage a deeper awareness of everyday risks on farms and the practical steps needed to reduce risk.

23 people died on Irish farms last year, and there have been three fatalities so far this year.

North Tipperary IFA Chair, Imelda Walsh, says machinery remains the biggest danger.

But she’s also warning farmers to be wary of bulls, especially in this week’s extreme heat:

“Bulls seem to get quite cross at this time of year. Breeding season is almost over, bulls get agitated because they’re not as active because there wouldn’t be as many cows coming in heat at this time.

“They’re dangerous animals and the warm weather tends to cause a little bit more stress.”

This year’s Farm Safety Week features video testimonial from farm accident survivor Eileen O’Driscoll in west Cork and the impact on her life.

Eileen farms with her husband Padraig in Skibbereen and suffered a livestock-related injury in 2015.

Her accident happened on Mother’s Day of that year when Eileen and her husband were checking their suckler herd. She suffered multiple fractures and needed to be airlifted to Cork University Hospital by the Toe Head and Glandore Coastguard.

Her farm accident impacted her B&B business significantly, and she required months of intensive rehabilitation.

The video also features first responders who discuss the challenge of coming to the aid of somebody who’s had an accident.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said Farm Safety Week is an important part of the annual calendar. It focuses on how farm families can continually improve their approach to farm safety.

“The messages from this week should be carried forward by everybody working on farms, to keep themselves safe. The impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental well-being cannot be underestimated. We would encourage everybody to seek support and resources to maintain a resilient and positive approach to their work,” he said.