Offaly farmers named as 'farm safety champions'

Express Reporter

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Offaly farmers named as 'farm safety champions'

Offaly farmers named as 'farm safety champions'

Claire and Damian Carroll from Kilcormac have been announced as the winners of the Portwest Farm Safety Champion Awards.

The competition ran throughout this year’s National Ploughing Championships. The sheep farmers have been recognised for the remarkable safety efforts they are making on their farm and have won a year’s supply of safety clothing from Portwest. 

 Portwest are committed to farm safety and had over 200 applicants for the competition. With approximately 2,500 serious injuries occurring every year and 194 people killed in the last 10 years in farming accidents, farm safety is an issue that is high priority for Portwest.

The competition applicants were asked to highlight the precautions they take daily on their farms to avoid accidents. Since 2006 over 12% of fatal farm accidents involved children and young people. The survey revealed the most common action taken is no children on the farm, along with:

- Wearing appropriate PPE
- Wearing hi-vis
- Completing regular first aid training
- All PTO’s being covered
- Correct signage on the farm
 

Many farm injuries and fatalities can be prevented, or the impacts minimised, if farmers are wearing the correct personal protective equipment.

Portwest found that farmers do not pay sufficient heed to safety features in clothing, for example by wearing clothing with flaps or draw-cords that increase the likelihood of getting a garment caught in machinery.

It is also important to ensure garments have reflective elements to increase visibility, the myth that cows are afraid of hi-vis leads to many people not wearing reflective clothing.

Respiratory protection is a must to protect against inhalation hazards such as pesticides, heavy dust and gases, hearing protection to avoid aural damage during high-pitched or loud noise level activities and adequate foot protection to protect against falling or rolling objects, chemical or liquid exposures, sharp objects or where feet are exposed to potential electrical hazards.

Portwest’s PPE clothing is developed to protect farmers at work. Rachel Davoren, General Manager of Portwest said “We are experts in the manufacturing of work-wear and PPE and have been developing these products for over 100 years. With over one-third of all workplace fatalities in Ireland occurring on farms, we felt it was important to designed safe and comfortable clothing for farmers.”

Along with the Portwest Farm Safety Champion Awards, Portwest had a ‘Farm Safety Zone’ and gave out free high vis-vests to kids at the Ploughing to promote safety on the farm for children.

Portwest have liaised with farm agencies throughout the product development process and have been fully certified in line with the most up to date European legislation. Portwest farm safety products are available in farm and Agri stores nationwide.