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New Farm Safety Action Plan Launched

by 5m Editor
12 December 2008, at 8:21am

IRELAND - A call for increased vigilance on farms was made yesterday by Mr Billy Kelleher T.D., Minister for Labour Affairs.


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"Safe farming is about protecting life and limb - I would appeal to all farmers not to take chances when it comes to the safety, health and well-being of themselves and their families."
Mr Billy Kelleher T.D., Minister for Labour Affairs

The Minister made his appeal at the launch of a new Farm Safety Action Plan where he expressed concern at the substantial increase in the level of deaths occurring on farms this year. There have been 20 farm deaths reported to the Health and Safety Authority to date in 2008 compared to 11 for 2007.

“There has been a big increase in farm deaths this year and that is obviously very worrying. The new Farm Safety Action Plan is timely and has my full support. The goals set out are ambitious but I have every confidence that they will be achieved. The plan covers a period of four years from 2009 but work on it is already well underway.

The Minister continued: "Safe farming is about protecting life and limb - I would appeal to all farmers not to take chances when it comes to the safety, health and well-being of themselves and their families.”

Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, indicated his concern at the low levels of compliance in the sector. He stated that the Authority would continue to work with Teagasc and other key farming organisations to promote the Authority’s farm safety code of practice.

“Teagasc have continued to provide training courses on how to use the farm safety code of practice and we would like to see more farmers attending those courses. I urge farmers to comply with the legislation and listen to the advice from ourselves, Teagasc and the other farming organisations. Farmers must put their safety, health and well-being at the heart of everything they do,” he said.

The new Farm Safety Action Plan sets out a four-year strategy to reduce the level of injury and occupational ill health among farmers. The plan outlines specific goals and actions to achieve these reductions and a range of farm organisations and state bodies with a role in farm injury and ill health prevention have given their full commitment to achieving the goals set.

Following the launch of the Farm Safety Action Plan, a seminar on Farm Injury Prevention and AgriWellness was held. It was organised jointly by the Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc as part of their joint Farm Safety and Health Prevention Initiative.

Mr. Tom Collins, Director of Operations with Teagasc, announced at the seminar that Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority had agreed to jointly fund a Walsh Fellowship to study approaches to improving the occupational health profile of farmers with particular reference to reducing the high level of spinal injuries among farmers. The Walsh Fellowship will be conducted at UCD in the School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science.