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HSA hopes farm inspection campaign will reduce accidents

Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will inspect around 500 farms this month as part of an intensive inspection campaign focused on tractor and machinery safety.

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To date in 2017, four of the six farm-related deaths have involved tractors or machinery, the HSA has reported. 

As part of the month-long campaign, inspectors will be encouraging farmers to plan work and have systems in place that minimise risk, particularly during silage harvesting. 

Pat Griffin, senior HSA inspector, said that many serious and fatal accidents on farms occur when someone is crushed or struck by machinery. 

“The movement of machinery, whether in the year or in a field, can be hazardous and farmers need to be aware of the risks. Incidents of crushing someone against a building, a wall, a gate or of farmers themselves being caught in crush zones are all too common,” he said.

“Crush zones are generally between the tractor and an attachment or machine or indeed within the machine itself. Farmers need to identify these zones and ensure that the risk to themselves or others being crushed is eliminated.”

Griffin added: “Wherever it is possible to install a guard, on a PTO shaft for example, you are required to do so. It only takes a second to become entangled in an unguarded PTO shaft and the resulting injuries are devastating. Our Inspectors will take enforcement action wherever they find tractors being operated with unguarded PTO shafts.”

In its Programme of Work for 2017, the HSA said it would carry out 2,000 farm visits this year – 1,400 of which would take place during three, three-week inspection campaigns. 

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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