Farming is undoubtedly one of the best jobs in the world, it is disappointing that it still ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs and this is really and truly something, we as farmers need to change.
Companies within the Irish agricultural industry do a fantastic job on an individual level in promoting Farm Safety Week. However, I feel like there is more to be done here if we want to make an impact. The entire Ag industry needs to stand united, with a key focus on education, this will be what makes a lasting difference.
Alma Jordan has proven education can be a success when it comes to farm safety, it is a huge achievement for Agrikids to have single-handedly visited 274 schools and over 28,000 children. Alma walks the walk unlike some others who like to be seen talking the talk. It’s not so long ago photos of a dangerous loader during silage season appeared on social media pushing up silage on the farm of a farmers representative and again this week I noticed a news clip where the representative being interviewed had no chain on the PTO guard.
Ultimately improving farm safety is in our hands, education will play a key role in reducing farm accidents, but we must implement what we learn. A simple task which make a huge difference is walking the yard making a list of areas or items that may be dangerous, simple things like making sure any spare gates are tied to a rail ensuring they can’t fall on someone, checking all PTO guards and replacing any damaged ones immediately, erecting signs warning others to potential hazards. I firmly believe we should not enter paddocks or fields where we have bulls without a quad or vehicle, they can be dangerous boys, you never know when their attitude will change and they’re a lot quicker than us. If a bull shows any signs of being dangerous it should be sent to an abattoir straight away.
I also believe farm safety needs to focus more on farmer mental health and wellbeing , if our mind isn’t clear and on the job it always has the potential to lead to disaster, as with most tasks a little forward thinking makes sure the job gets completed efficiently. Ultimately there are more lives lost to suicide in the agricultural sector than there are to farm accidents. We as farmers need to be more proactive on looking after our mental wellbeing.
Health is another key area of farm safety we need to prioritise; we are super at ensuring our livestock are in tip top health but how many of us go for a MOT with the doctor once a year.
I could go on and on about what we need to do but I will leave you with these thoughts: look after yourself, highlight the dangers on farm and make sure any children and staff are fully aware of the dangers. Together we can all make a difference to ensure farms are safer places.