For the last few years, statistics have regularly shown that agricultural safety is a significant concern in Ireland and in its neighbouring countries. As hard as many people may find it to believe, agriculture work ranks higher regarding a possibility of dangerous incidences than work related to manufacturing and construction. Every year, at least, 50 to 60 agricultural workers suffer from an injury that is often fatal. The statistics of fatal injuries and ill-health are more alarming if we take into consideration how agriculture only represents a little portion of the entire economy of the UK.
The percentage of national income that agriculture contributes is only around 0.5%, and around half a million people are involved working part-time or full-time. Everyone can protect themselves from injury and illness by following a few straightforward and cheap techniques that make farms and farming equipment safer to use. Safety and health are two of the most fundamental requirements of sustainable agriculture and should be considered to be of priority.
Common types of injuries
There can be many types of agriculture-related accidents, either due to sheer negligence or because of faulty equipment. Injuries from tractor accidents take the top spot in the list of farming fatalities. Other types of injuries happen due to contact with various equipment and objects, harmful substances, fires, explosions, falling from a height, transportation accidents, and incidents of violent acts from animals.
Mentioned below are some of the essential farm safety measures that you must take to provide a hazard free farming environment.
Safety with machinery
- Make sure that all farming vehicles and trailers are working perfectly, and there is no hitch in the lights, indicators, and even mirrors.
- Be sure to lock the cabs and safety frames on tractors when not in use and double check to see if the handbrake is on. The safety frames and cabs should also be maintained properly.
- While handling chainsaws, make sure that it is correctly fitted with the things such as chain catcher, safety chain, chain break, safety throttle, and a chain breakage guard.
- Take extra precaution while working with equipment running on pressurised hydraulic oils.
- Livestock safety
- Easy handling and proper maintenance of holding pins, cattle handling units, and cattle crushes are vital so be sure never to ignore this aspect.
- If you have Bulls on your farm, make sure they are ringed and make a point to inspect the ring regularly.
- Aggressive animals should be securely fenced so that they cannot cause harm or injury to anyone on the farm.
- All the electrical installations and wiring connections should comply with regulations set by the government.
- Never allow untrained personnel to work on electric repairs and never attempt to make electrical repairs yourself, if you are untrained in this field.
- Keep a check for faulty fuse installations, frayed cables, loose plug tops, and other types of equipment that may be malfunctioning.
- Keep an eye out on overhead cables and always maintain a safe distance.
Safety of children
- Under no circumstances agree to carry children as passengers on trailers or any other farming vehicle.
- Always keep the slurry pits covered as there is a risk of children falling inside.
- Store all types of pesticide and other hazardous chemicals safely out of children’s reach.
- Statistics show that one-third of all agricultural accidents involve children. Be sure to keep an eye out on their activity and educate them about the necessity of taking proper precaution.
- Be sure to wear dust masks because spores, organic dust, and moulds can cause diseases like asthma or Farmer’s lung.
- Always quarantine infected animals and take precaution while you are around them.
- Stagnant water can often contain harmful chemicals and rat urine, which can cause leptospirosis if anyone comes in contact. Try as much as you can to eliminate stagnant water.
- Lyme disease is often caused by tick bites; so, always wear appropriate clothing and never ignore any feeling of irritation, itchiness, and bite marks.
Reasons to implement proper safety precautions
If you are employing people in your agricultural farm, know that someone is waiting for them in their homes. Being a responsible employer, it is your duty to take every precaution so as to reduce chances of fatal incidents and ill-health among workers. There are also financial benefits of taking more safety precautions that can aid you, your family, and the workers that you have employed. Some of these benefits are:
- The reduction in ill-health and injuries will reflect in your personal costs and finance.
- Employees will have good morale and would perform their tasks with more enthusiasm.
- Better farming practices can help develop sustainable farming.
- Workers will take less sick leaves and cost of training and recruitment of replacement workers will go down.
- All the equipment and machinery will have a longer life.
- You will need to pay lLower legal fees and insurance premiums.
- The reputation of your business will run a lower risk of damage.
In reality, there are other vast numbers of benefits that you can get by taking proper safety and health precautions. Farming is no doubt a hazardous industry, and farm workers have to deal with dangerous vehicles, machinery, chemicals, livestock, etc. on a regular basis. It is only proper that you do your part to ensure their well-being.
What to do in case of injury?
Farm owners are just as much susceptible to various farming related injuries as the workers. A workplace injury for a farm worker could result in hospital bills, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability and in extreme cases, death. For farm owners, an injury might lead to physical harm and even loss of productivity. To ensure farm safety, you must have the proper insurance that safeguards your interests.
As a farm owner, if you believe that the injury has been caused due to negligence, mishandling of equipment, or any other reason that isn’t your fault, then contact your lawyer as soon as possible. Whoever the victim is, you need to know your rights because legal battles can turn out to be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
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