What does farming safely mean to you?

Changing habits and attitudes around the farm this year could help your family avoid a devastating loss. Here’s how to get started on making those changes With 30 lives lost in the farming community in 2014, this is the time for everybody involved in farming to think how they can keep their own family safe and sound. In December 2014 the IFA (Irish Farmer’s Association) launched a new farm safety campaign – SAVE LIVES – to raise awareness of the dangers of working on the farm and to encourage farmers to always think safety first. The message for 2015 is for everybody to be more vigilant and keep farm safety on their mind. Save lives with the SAVE LIVES acronym Stress distracts – stay focused on the job in hand Apply the handbrake of the tractor whenever you leave the cab Ventilate and evacuate when agitating slurry – gases can kill Ensure a roof can support your weight when working on it Loose or flapping clothes can get caught in machinery, be careful Icy roads and pathways can be dangerous, slow down Visitors on the farm, especially children should be made aware of any dangers Escape routes should be planned when handling cattle Switch on the light – someone may have moved something and you could trip Focus areas “65% of accidents are through machinery,” says Maura Canning, National Chairperson Farm Family and Social Affairs committee at the IFA. “We have to change attitudes around machinery.” Hand brakes Changing habits could and does save lives. One of the habits that urgently needs to be changed is the simple action of pulling up a hand brake. Oftentimes a hand brake is not pulled up as the person operating the machine or tractor assumes it won’t roll. When it does move, serious injuries or death can occur. Children The advice for keeping children safe on a farm is simple: have adult supervision at all times, from cattle to machinery. Statistic: Between 2004 and 2013 11% of farm fatalities were children. Older farmers Once upon a time most people were able to feed two families on a farm. Due to the economic situation and emigration, and partners working in jobs, the current generation of farmers are often older and there’s only one person to do the work of two to three people. Half of farmers are over 55 years old. Still, farmers with no one else around might try to get everything done themselves. “It can lead to as stressful situation,” says Maura. “They think they can do the same thing they could do 30 years ago. Say to yourself you can’t do this on your own.” “If you’re doing a particular job and you know you need help don’t chance doing it yourself,” Maura adds. Statistic: Between 2004 and 2013 38% of farm fatalities were farmers aged over 65 years Working alone Bigger sheds, more stock, and machinery means sometimes farmers put pressure on themselves to finish a job in one day that may have taken two or three days in the past. According to Maura, accidents are all down to behaviour and the amount of work force they’re trying to put into the one day. “Focus on the particular job you’re doing, not the next one,” she advises. What to do next Read the Think Safety Farm Safely leaflet http://www.ifa.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/IFA-Safety-leaflet-2014-web.pdf Review your family’s Farm Safety statement Eddie Downey, IFA President has said that the messages in the SAVE LIVES campaign hope to encourage farmers to: change their working practices be more responsive to the potential dangers to take preventative action to reduce the risks “I am asking all farm families to take action today to make their farms a safer place to work. The best way to reduce accidents and fatalities is to update your Farm Safety statement, this will help you identify the risks and to put in place appropriate control measures,” he said. What will you do? #Farming