The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will today begin a month long intensive farm inspection campaign on. Approximately 500 inspections are planned with a focus on safe working at height.
After recent storms, and with the winter months ahead, there is concern that more deaths or serious injuries could occur, particularly when carrying out repairs on farm buildings. A particular danger is falling through fragile roofs or from ladders.
Of the 21 people killed due to farm accidents to date in 2017, three of them were as the result of falls from height or falling objects.
Throughout the month, inspectors from the HSA will be encouraging farmers to ensure they have the right equipment and knowledge to work at height safely.
Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector with the HSA says that work on or near roofs can be adapted to make it safer:
“Most agricultural roofs are made from fragile materials such as galvanised sheeting or Perspex and working on these is extremely risky and should be avoided if possible. We are urging farmers to find ways to replace roof fixings from underneath using work platforms. If the work can’t be done from underneath, use a mobile elevated work platform that allows access without having to stand on the roof itself. Also ladders, if used, must be tied or footed, to avoid slipping, and should only be used for a short duration.”
Pat Griffin added that items stored at height can be a danger as well:
“We also want to highlight the dangers of falling objects such as bales and bagged silage. These items are sometimes stored at height and it is important that they are properly stacked to avoid them falling and causing crush injuries.”
The HSA and the Farm Safety Partnership are working to promote new approaches to accident prevention on farms based on international research. These approaches and the protection of farmers and their livelihoods will be discussed at the ‘National Farm Safety Conference’ in Ennis on November 17th.