Those familiar with farm yards will know they are places of great activity. They are also highly dangerous and many accidents and injuries can take place.
Tragically, it is also a place where people can lose their lives because of the hidden dangers.
Prevention of accidents is always crucial. There is a responsibility on every farmer, herd owner, herd keeper or any person occupying farmyards and farmland to make sure that the environments are as safe as possible, not only for themselves but any person who may visit.
All farmers take the responsibility of running a farm yard very seriously. Times are difficult for farmers and while trying to balance budgets, they also have to take into account the spiralling cost of farm insurance.
A safe working environment is necessary to ensure that there are no claims or accidents. At the same time, no farm or farm yard can be absolutely immune from any accident.
Typically the types of accidents fall into three categories.
The first relates to animals and when they act in a way that is not expected and cause an accident. Just as a parent is responsible for a child, a farmer is responsible for their animals and making sure that they do not cause harm to anybody who is attending to them, including farm labourers, Department Officials or Veterinary Surgeons. It is vital that a safe system is introduced such as those which are advocated by the Irish Farmer’s Association, the Department of Agriculture and the Health and Safety Authority.
The second area concerns machinery. By its very nature, modern farming can only take place with large machinery being used. This ranges from milking parlours and automated feed devices, to tractors and trailers. In Ireland there have been a number of fatalities resulting from injuries sustained involving farm machinery. Predominantly, it is not the farmers themselves that are injured but people who are assisting them.
The third avenue then is the hidden dangers such as succumbing to toxic fumes. Many fatalities in farm yards have resulted from the fumes generated by slurry agitation. It is extremely important to make sure that all precautions are taken when working around slurry, so that this does not happen. Extra care also needs to be taken with visitors around slurry pits and tanks, as they may not be aware of the dangers.
Putting in place a safe system will inevitably avoid injuries and accidents. Farm insurance policies that must be put in place can remain intact. Sufficient insurance must be in place at all times. If an accident does occur and there is no insurance, then the liability will fall directly on the farmer, which could have severe personal financial consequences.
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