Farm safety

These tips are intended as a general guide – contact your risk management adviser for specific advice on how to minimise the risks your farm may be exposed to.

Safety around machinery

  • Ensure all power take-off shafts are adequately guarded
  • Tractors must be properly maintained with cabs or safety frames fitted to OECD standard. Always remember to have the hand brake on and cab locked when not in use
  • Ensure all vehicles and trailers have mirrors, lights and indicators in good working order
  • Ensure any chain saws are fitted with a chain brake, safety chain, chain catcher, chain breakage guard and safety throttle
  • Work safely with pressurised hydraulic oils

Safety with livestock

  • Proper and regular maintenance of cattle handling units, cattle crushes and holding pens is essential
  • Bulls to be ringed and the ring regularly inspected
  • Make sure holding fields for dangerous animals are securely fenced off

Children’s safety

  • Do not carry children as passengers on attachments or trailers
  • Keep slurry pits covered
  • Keep chemicals and pesticides safely stored
  • Children are involved in one third of all accidents, so educate them on safety and regularly reinforce that message

Slurry pits

  • Make sure everyone on your farm is aware of the hazards of the slurry pit, including the production of dangerous gases such as hydrogen sulphide and ammonia
  • High levels of ventilation during agitation are vital
  • Only undertake agitation of the pit with two people present, if possible
  • Always avoid naked flames near pits

Farm health hazards

  • Asthma or ‘Farmers' Lung’ can be caused by close work to spores, moulds and organic dusts, so wear a dust mask
  • Leptospirosis can be caused by contact with stagnant water containing rats’ urine; symptoms are similar to a very bad attack of flu
  • Brucellosis outbreaks still occur – always take precautions around infected animals
  • Lyme disease can be transferred to humans by tick bites; keep arms and legs covered where possible and be alert to irritations and bites

Electrical Safety

  • Do not try to make electrical repairs yourself, as these should only be made by a competent electrician.
  • Get the electrical installations on your farm examined regularly, and upgrade if necessary. Be familiar with the standards of electrical installation. Read the ESB (Electricity Supply Board) leaflet ’Farm well, farm safely’.
  • Make sure that all plugs are correctly wired and that cables are solid. Only use waterproof fittings in damp locations. All sockets should be protected by a 30-milliamp residual current device (RCD).
  • Look out for overhead cables and make sure that there is a safe clearance distance.

Your Farm Safety Guide

Download our Farm Safety Guide (900kb PDF)

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