Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland. In light of this here are a couple of farm safety guidelines.
1. Pto guards. Simple advice this. Make sure they are fitted, in good condition and clipped on. And for heavens sake don’t ever go near a pto shaft while it is running. There is no farm activity bar agitating where you ar anyone else should be operating a pto shaft from outside a cab. If you need to get out of the cab switch it off. Simple advice but this is where most people get killed or lose limbs. A pto shaft will not stop if your arm or coat gets caught in it, it will pull you in till something gives.
2. Slurry handling and agitation.
When we are doing slurry related activities straight away alarm bells go off in my head and they should be going off in yours too. Slurry is the most dangerous activity on a farm. As mentioned above slurry agitation is where most pto related deaths and injuries take place so for gods sake make sure the pto guard is 100% perfect on the agitator. Stay away from the shaft as much as possible.
Open all shed doors if you are agitating and try to wait for a day with a breeze to ventilate the gasses emitted from the slurry. Remember they are odourless and heavy gasses so they stay on the ground level. There have been too many tragedies involving gases poisoning people and serious lung injury or death is far too commonplace. Stay well away while agitating and make sure people know where you are and what you are doing when doing this job.
Nobody likes them but they are a feature of everyday farming with the current regulations. Again its simple advice, Slurry tanks and pits must be properly fenced off. They should have signs up on the fence warning people to stay away. Remember its not neccesarrily you that you are warning off but children and people unfamiliar with farming. Your children may know to stay away but their friends may not. This is a common cause of child fatality on farms. Broken fences or walls around the pits must be fixed as a priority. If nothing more than peace of mind could you forgive yourself if an accident occurred and you thought you could have prevented it?
3.Tractors and farm equipment.
Tractor cabs if designed for one person should only have one person in them. Common injuries or fatalitys occur when a passenger falls off the tractor and gets crushed by the back wheel. Obviously the drawbar of the tractor is the least suitable place for anyone to be. The amount of people getting killed from falling from drawbars is staggering. Use your common sense. Don’t do it. Any passenger would be better off walking or waiting for a lift than paralysed from a fall.
Children and machinery do not mix. Most kids are fascinated by tractors and equipment but in todays fast paced farming world, the farmyard is a very dangerous place. Tractors are much bigger, faster and more powerful than ever before and pressure on contractors and farmers means that speeds can often be excessive. This is not a place for children. The safest place for a child is in the cab of the tractor if it is designed to hold them. Even then they can be a distraction and the possibility of making a mistake rises dramatically. Again childrens friends may not be familiar with farms and need to be supervised. Better a disappointed child than a seriously injured one.
Animals by their nature can be unpredictable. A cow that you may have had for years with no problems can get agitated and pin you to a gate or wall in the wrong circumstances. It is probably the most dangerous side to farming as you are around animals every day and familiarity can breed carelessness. When you walk into a hard of animals be aware of where you are. Have an escape plan. If you are herding animals that you think may be easily agitated use the tractor. More than one farmer has had to roll under the tractor when animals become dangerous and often with out warning.
If animals become agitated let them off. Running after them with sticks generally will not do anyone any good. Leave them for an hour or two and try to coax them with a bag of feed to get them to where you want them.