Be safe on the farm

Mairead McGuinness839 views

Farm safety is an essential consideration for everyone who farms and for their families. Sadly we have seen seven people lose their lives on Irish farms this year. I have just read the report of a farmer in Northern Ireland who lost his life on Friday in an accident involving a bull. Another tragedy, another farm family devastated. We think of all those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one on our farms and pray that they find the strength to cope.

Not all farm accidents are fatal, but many leave farmers and family members disabled.

According to Teagasc, 2,000 injuries are recorded on Irish farms each year. 75 percent of these involve tractors or machinery, trips and falls or livestock – which accounts for a quarter of accidents.

Most Irish farmers are very conscious of creating a safe working environment and have active safety plans on their farms. However, it is in the busy moments that we often forget ourselves and accidents can occur. Sometimes, the best advice is to pause for a moment and think before you act when dealing with those high-risk farming jobs such as operating machinery, moving livestock and so on. Is this safe? How can I do each task with my own safety in mind?

Teagasc advisors on safety tell us that most accidents are preventable if practical safety measures are taken. They urge the farming community to assess their current farm safety, identify hazards and take control measures. It is also a good idea to discuss key aspects of farm safety regularly with your family, any persons who may work on your farm, contractors and visitors and ensure that safe standards and practices are followed.

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Sadly, the farming community in Ireland is all too aware of the tragic consequences of farm accidents. I attended the beautiful and very moving memorial held in Co Laois on Sunday in remembrance of those who lost their lives in farm accidents. For more information on Embrace FARM, founded to provide a bereavement support group for farm families, visit:

The Department of Agriculture also provide a support service for families (lo-call 0761 064445). This service is for those farm families who have suffered sudden tragedies and face subsequent challenges in their dealings with issues surrounding ownership, entitlements, scheme applications, succession and inheritance etc.

Greek crisis

It has been worrying to watch the events surrounding the Greek crisis unfold and continue to escalate in such a dramatic fashion in the last few days.
Greek citizens are facing difficulties accessing cash as the banks remain closed and capital controls imposed. At the weekend we will have a referendum.

EU leaders in the Eurozone and the IMF creditors had met Greek government officials on numerous occasions, in a bid to broker a deal to ultimately support Greece in finding its way out of a very difficult situation.

The Irish example has been heavily cited in recent days and clearly highlights where Greece has failed to make progress. Tough measures were taken in Ireland but the results are very apparent. The Irish government also renegotiated the terms of our bailout, securing interest rate reductions on debts, and focused on growth and job creation. The unemployment rate in Ireland has now dropped to below 10 percent, whereas it currently stands at 25 percent in Greece.

The situation is incredibly precarious and changes by the day in Greece. One can only hope that some common sense prevails and Greece pulls back from the brink of economic disaster. A great deal of damage has been done to its future prospects for economic growth and investment, but there is still hope if a more balanced, realistic approach is taken and if all sides show genuine willingness to resolve the crisis.

Everything hinges on the outcome of the Greek referendum on Sunday. The sadness and disappointment of the EU negotiators at the way in which the Greek government has handled the negotiations is palpable. Apparently, the amount that divides the two sides is not large.

What a total waste of time and energy and what a horrible situation for the Greek people to be in – banks closed, long queues at ATM and supermarkets.

However disappointed we are, on Monday next we will have to reflect on the outcome of the referendum and move forward.