With a notable increase in the number of tractors and large machinery moving on public roads and a busy bank holiday weekend ahead, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture with responsibility for farm safety Martin Heydon has asked farmers and those visiting the countryside to be “extra vigilant” during the summer months.
The minister reminded farmers and contractors of the dangers around activities such as silage making and slurry spreading.
He recommended that contractors and farmers discuss and plan all safety aspects before the work commences, not only in the farmyard and fields, but also on the roads.
Busy time of year
Minister Heydon said: “Summer is one of the busiest times of year on farms. It is important that, as school holidays begin and the countryside gets busier over the summer months, safety is foremost in everyone’s mind.”
“The Irish countryside is a wonderful resource on our doorsteps. It is great to see people enjoying the beautiful scenery, fresh air and the many amenities.
"Though, I would urge visitors to be conscious of agricultural activities at this time of year and to be accommodating to farmers.
“Walkers, cyclists, motorists and horse riders taking advantage of the fine weather may not be aware of the risks posed by [farm] machinery.”
Lines of sight
The Minister also urged farmers to check that there are good lines of sight while accessing public roads from yards and fields and highlighted that tractors with front loaders pose a particular danger.
He said warning signs and cones should be used on road verges at entrances to alert other road users of machinery moving in the area and warned that any debris or soil brought on to a public road by this machinery should be removed as soon as possible, as it could cause a vehicle to lose control.
Minister Heydon also urged caution around livestock.
He said: “Farm animals are not pets and fields with livestock should be avoided. Dogs should always be on a lead, so that livestock or wildlife are not disturbed.
“If we all work together with patience and co-operation, we can help ensure a safe summer for all,” he said.