You have certain responsibilities to prevent accidents on and off your farm, and must be particularly vigilant now, when the farm is a hive of activity. You may need to have a Safety Statement.
The sun is out, school holidays are approaching, silage is being cut, and children want to be outdoors.
The Farmer the Employer
If you have farm workers, like any other employer, you must comply with obligations under Health and Safety legislation including Safety Statements. A Safety Statement is a written document that must:
1. Identify the hazards on the farm for example animals and machinery.
2. Assess the risk of the hazards happening.
3. Identify the measures that can be put in place/reduce the risk.
The Safety Statement and risk assessment document should be brought to the attention of all people who work on the farm. An Inspector of the Health & Safety Authority may examine the Safety Statement or risk assessment document.
The Inspector would also examine how safety and health measures are being implemented on the farm.
Safe Place of Work: this includes all areas of the farm. Proper safeguards should be in place to prevent injuries for example, fencing a slurry pit.
Safe Place/Machinery: maintain machinery to make sure it is not faulty and have proper guards in place when using machinery for example, fitting a guard to a PTO shaft.
Safe Employees: ensure all employees are properly trained; ensure all employees are competent and trained in livestock handling and manual handling.
You should also check that you have your appropriate employers’ liability insurance in place to cover claims arising out of accidents.
The Farmer the Landowner
1. You have a duty to protect members of the public visiting and others on your farm. Your Safety Statement should also identify the potential risks of those persons.
2. A particular risk may be posed to children who are on the farm. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Children and Young Persons) Regulations, 1998 require farmers to identify what work is suitable for children and what work is not suitable. Children under the age of 14 should not be allowed to drive tractors on the farm. The Health and Safety Authority have set out specific guidelines to be followed by children of 14 or over when driving a tractor.
A child must be 16 years before driving a tractor in a public place.
3. You should discuss your policy with your insurance company to ensure that you have adequate liability insurance in place. Also, check if the policy covers personal injuries to persons who are not employees or members of the public, such as family members.
The Farmer the Livestock Owner
1. As well as making sure that livestock are herded, handled and loaded properly, there are also specific rules about the escape of animals.
Under legislation, you, the farmer, can be held responsible for damage caused by livestock that escape onto the road. You need to ensure proper fencing, and that other measures are taken to prevent this from occurring.
2. Under legislation, if cow dung is left on the road which could substantially lead to an accident then you, the farmer could be liable. For example, if your livestock cross a road from milking, ensure the road is swept after crossing.
If an accident happens, and where the injured person cannot perform their normal work for more than three consecutive days (not including the day of the accident), it must be reported to the Health and Safety Authority.
Where general injuries are caused to members of the public, and where a person requires treatment from a medical practitioner, the accident is reportable. The Authority must also be notified of specified dangers, occurrences, such as fires, explosions, chemical spillages.
In the event of a fatal accident, the employer is obliged to immediately report the accident to the Health and Safety Authority. The Gardaí should also be notified immediately of all workplace accidents resulting in death.
The 2005 Acts places a duty of care on employers, self-employed farmers and farm workers to do what is reasonable to ensure farm safety.
See walshandpartners.ie/blog for more!