Farm Safety Week is a great opportunity to highlight the need to take farm safety very, very seriously, former Ireland rugby captain and farmer Rory Best has said.
Best farms 1,200ac of tillage and 60 pedigree Angus cows with his father and brother on the Armagh-Down border.
Best told the Irish Farmers Journal that Farm Safety Week should be used to reflect on the risks present on farms and to reconsider the dangers encountered by farmers each day.
“Over and above, the week is about highlighting that farms are a great place to work and live but they are also very dangerous,” Best said.
Now that I am a father, as opposed to a farmer’s son, I am now making sure that not only my kids are safe on the farm, but also my father, my brother and myself
He said becoming a father had somewhat changed his perspectives on farm safety and shifted his approach to one which was proactive and preventative in nature.
“Now that I am a father, as opposed to a farmer’s son, I am now making sure that not only my kids are safe on the farm, but also my father, my brother and myself.”
He hopes the slower pace of everyday life, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues and added that it will allow more time for farmers to consider safety measures, something he may not have concentrated enough on in his youth.
“Ten seconds to check something is not a long time. When I’m looking back now at sometimes when I was younger, there would have been more speed and less haste.
“Now it is more about just taking the time that is needed.”
While not excessive in terms of the money spent, there is a lot of time and attention brought to safety
Regular checks on PTO coverings, safer animal handling facilities and use of the correct personal protective equipment were safety measures improved on the Best’s tillage and cattle farm over the years.
“While not excessive in terms of the money spent, there is a lot of time and attention brought to safety,” Best continued.
Best, an ambassador for the Specsavers audiology department, also advised farmers to get their hearing checked to prevent hearing loss.
“While you cannot get that hearing back, you can reduce the speed with which it further declines by wearing ear protection.
“Anything reasonably loud, even off farm, I will now wear ear protection and Specsavers highlighted that for me,” he said.