I feel like a bit of an imposter. I wrote my first blog about farm safety about 6 weeks ago, hoping to convey some information to (particularly) farmers. Never claiming to be an expert, I thought there were some pointers worth sharing. I am writing a wrap up note here - I will revisit at some time in future to develop and explore other topics.

Now, in the last week, I have seen an assortment of news articles and/or information - tweets, facebook messages and press releases all related to farm safety, chainsaw safety, machinery safety and so on. We have a whole suite of products related to or linked to safety - which can be seen here on our website.

The IFA, Farmers' Journal and HSA, among others, have published information relating to safety, or staged meetings about safety. This is clearly all very worthy, but within all the safety news, there is occasionally a message about a farm accident - sadly, there have been reports of two fatalities in the last couple of weeks in farm accidents. Remaining vigilant is critical.

There is a campaign underway where the HSA will be inspecting tractors and machinery to confirm safety - read all about it here. The IFA have held meetings on farms about safety and the Farmers' Journal has reported on these meetings - in forums bigger than that which I have here. My (kind of) thought for the day links to risk assessment. I hope I won't be preaching, but formally developing a risk assessment can be quite an eye opener and it can be a very worthwhile exercise. Looking at your premises yourself with a critical eye and open mind can often show or identify potential difficulties on the farm, or anywhere else for that matter.

Look at all those spikes! Look at all those spikes!

Over and above legal requirements, a risk assessment can always benefit your farm, your business, your place of work. Simplified, a risk assessment needs a list of items, the potential risk, how critical/dangerous it is and how the risk can be minimised. I've always felt that it is better to develop a personal risk assessment document. Guidelines are great and will contribute, but your own development can make the risk assessment more meaningful. In addition, by performing your own thorough risk assessment, potential issues can be identified efficiently.

A listing of precautions and/or suggestions from www.hsa.ie is worth repeating here. This website is a really valuable resource for safety of the farming industry - I've referred to it previously and unhesitatingly reference it again - it is well worthwhile visiting and reading the supporting documents in there.

1. There's an electronic Risk Assessment available to use as part of the Code of Practice

2. Prepare and implement a Safety Statement

3. If 3 or less people work on the farm, the Code of Practice meets the Safety Statement requirement

4. Plan work to make sure it can be done safely

5. Check machinery and equipment before use

6. Communicate with family, workers and contractors to make sure that tasks and safeguards are understood

7. Train persons to operate tractors and machinery and complete jobs safely

8. Assess and control risks to children and persons with slower reaction times. Do not allow children unsupervised access to the farmyard
(Ref: HSA Agriculture Website)
It is easy to conclude that an efficient assessment of your farm premises will have long-term benefits - identification of potential hazards and pointers to resolution of these hazards. Please try to take advantage of fine weather to check out your own premises.

Joe, April 2019