Commenting on the figures released by the Health & Safety Authority, IFA’s Health & Safety Executive William Shortall said 2019 would see the rollout of IFA’s peer-to-peer farm safety learning initiative.
He said: “There were 15 farm fatalities in 2018, which is a stark message that we have more to do in this area. The peer-to-peer initiative is about encouraging farmers to undertake practical measures that will reduce the risk on their own farm”.
IFA has confirmed that it will use the branch structure within its 29 county executives to pilot the peer-to-peer farm safety learning initiative. The association says it has already visited over 60 farms. Farm visits have taken place in counties Tipperary, Clare, Wexford, Kildare and Limerick during the last three months of 2018.
Farms which have been visited are a mixture of enterprises and sizes and groups meet in one particular yard where a discussion takes place concerning any ‘near-miss’ within the last 18 months. A walk of the farm then takes place. The following areas are focused on: livestock housing and handling unit; machinery; farmyard; and workshop.
The farmer is given a ‘pros and cons’ document to fill out based on what the group observe around the farm. The farmer then chooses one item or behaviour they will change before the group reconvenes. This process is repeated on each of the individual farms in the group. All members taking part in the pilot are doing so on a voluntary basis.