By Andrew Strong & Tristan Harris
Farms have the highest injuries and fatalities out of any other sector. Between 2012-2017 2,814 accidents have occurred. Farm accidents have risen by 13% in the last five years and by 31% in the last ten years.
The four main areas that accidents occur are tractors, machinery, livestock and slurry. Young people and elderly are most at risk.
Vehicles and machinery accounted for approx. 50% of all farm deaths in the last ten years. When driving on roads always make sure brake pedals are locked together, mirrors and windows are clean and lights are working. Always take care when reversing in the yard especially if there are children or elderly people around who may not be able to get out of the way quickly enough. Make sure to cover any unguarded moving parts of a machine. Slow down when driving on hills.
Bulls and heifers must be always treated with caution. Bulls should be ringed at 10 months and rings should be checked regularly. Any field a bull is in should be fenced and gates secured. Heifers and cows can be unpredictable during and after calving. Calving jacks can help prevent back injury. Give the cow enough space and bedding. Never turn your back away from the animal and keep pets away as they may startle the animal.
Drowning and gas poisoning are the two main risks associated with slurry. Outdoor agitation points are a must. Never enter a tank. Make sure manholes are covered. Try to agitate on a windy day and keep all people away for half an hour after starting agitation.