PRESIDENT Mary McAleese launched a major IFA nationwide Farm Safety awareness campaign that will be promoted to the Association’s 87,000 members through its network of 947 branches and County Executives.
“I am delighted to add my voice to those insisting that farmers put farm safety at the top of their priority list for 2011. Farm safety is not optional. It is a profound obligation of care for the health, well-being and safety of the self and other human beings. Next year’s statistics will soon tell us how effective this campaign has been. I wish it huge success and hope that Ireland already a world leader in food production; will be recognised as a world leader in farm safety thanks to your efforts.”
John Bryan said IFA was honoured that President McAleese was launching the campaign, and her interest in the issue would send the strongest possible message to farm families on the importance of ongoing vigilance when it comes to safety on the farm.
The theme of the campaign is ‘Think Safety – Farm Safely’. Over the coming months, each of the 29 IFA County Executives will be addressed by experts from FBD, Teagasc and HSA who will provide practical advice on steps and measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of accidents.
Addressing the IFA Executive Council and members of the Farm Family Committee in the Irish Farm Centre, IFA President John Bryan said he was very concerned at the increase in the number of accidents and deaths on Irish farms last year. “Increased awareness of health and safety through ongoing education and promotion is the most effective way of reducing farm accidents.”
“The use of awareness and promotion to keep safety to the forefront in the minds of all farm families will have far more impact than inspection and enforcement. It will help to improve our safety record and bring about a real change in culture,” said Mr Bryan who called on the HSA to redirect extra resources to awareness and promotion.
IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Committee Chairman Margaret Healy said close co-operation between farm families and agencies will heighten awareness of best practice and reduce the level of accidents on farms.