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91
MAY 2018
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Farm Safety
MAY 2018
Farm Safety
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
to address this issue. I have
invested a lot of money in my
farm over the last number of
years. Some people might say
that I was crazy and that I will
never get a return on that, that I
could have taken in a few extra
cows, or some additional land to
increase productivity. But, no, I
have people working on the farm
and I need a safe and sustainable
environment for them.
"We need the HSA to design a
scheme whereby they give us a
period of time to address safety
issues, then they come to our
farm and give us the heavy-
handed approach because the
light touch isn't going to work."
When asked how far he would
go down the regulation road, Mr
O'Keeffe said: "I am going to do
the very best that I can to ensure
I make changes necessary on my
farm."
Open to the floor
Speaking from the floor, dairy
farmer and IFA director, Pat
Murphy, said that farmers were
`trapped into a system that forces
them to cut corners'. "It forces
them to run faster, to produce
more, to work longer hours so
that we can pay bills. As farmers,
we inevitably end up hurting our
own safety, our families' safety,
and we put our own health on
the back burner."
President of the Farm Tractor
and Machinery Trade Association
(FTMTA), Graham McHugh,
said there was political
resistance towards implementing
safety structures. Government
incentives and financial
backing were essential, he said,
particularly when it comes to
farm contractors. According to
Mr McHugh, contractors cannot
avail of TAMS because they do
not have a herd number, which is
an eligibility requirement.
"There are grants available for
improving machinery [under
TAMS] and yet, contractors
cannot avail of them. The
Government is not backing the
incentives that are in place where
they are needed most," he said.
Zero tolerance
MEP and vice president of the
European Parliament, Mairead
McGuinness, said that our
support for the family farm
model as an ideal needs to be
moderated by the reality that
`family farms' are not the safe
and secure places they should be.
"It's time to acknowledge that
the family farm model which
mixes family and the workplace
is adding to the unacceptably
high level of farm accidents
and fatalities. A less rigid and
formal structure of work applies
there than on other regulated
businesses and workplaces."
She encouraged a change in
behaviour, attitudes and work
practices on traditional family
farms, otherwise `the horror of
farm fatalities and accidents
will continue to plague our
countryside', she said.
Ms McGuinness warned of the
relentless pressure on farmers
and farming families and that
this insidious pressure to do
more, to cut costs and keep going
is impacting the mental health
and wellbeing of our farming
communities.
Matt O'Kee e, editor, Irish Farmers Monthly; Mairead McGuinness, MEP;
Alexander Brady and Jack Brady, winners of the ABP Farm Safety Award at
the
BT Young Scientist Exhibition; and Carolyn O'Hara, FBD Insurance.
Editor, Irish Farmers Monthly, and dairy farmer Matt O'Kee e taking part in a
working-at-height safety demonstration at UCD Lyons Research Farm.
Health and safety specialist, Teagasc, John McNamara; Macra na Feirme/
FBD
Young Farmer of the Year, PJ O'Kee e; and safety and risk
management surveyor, FBD Insurance, Ciaran Roche.
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