Revolutionizing Farm Safety: Harnessing Expertise from Diverse Industries

"Founder of Ennis Safety Wear Ltd. advocates for cross-industry learning to improve farm safety as agriculture sector records 12 fatalities"

Founder of Ennis Safety Wear Ltd., Angela Ennis, has suggested that cross-industry information on workplace safety could be used to improve farm safety. She stated that safety issues in the construction industry and the agriculture sector are interrelated. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) recorded 12 fatalities in the agriculture sector last year, making it the sector with the highest number of fatalities. Meanwhile, the construction sector saw seven fatalities in 2022, a decrease of 30% from the previous year, but is still considered one of the most dangerous industries, according to the HSA.

Angela emphasized the importance of individual risk assessments for each farm, as she has personally witnessed the devastating impact of farm accidents on families. Her parents were both farmers, and her upbringing in Dublin instilled in her a deep appreciation for farming culture. She has been involved in specialized workwear through her work at Dublin Port for the last nine years, which she describes as a high-hazardous environment, and subsequently founded Ennis Safety Wear Ltd.

In an interview with Agriland, Angela recalled seeing her uncle and aunt donning wellies and overalls before heading to the milking parlour when she was a child. She noted that farmers often do not wear safety-toe wellingtons, which could protect them from the kickback of cows or calves. She suggested that farmers could also consider wearing high-visibility (hi-vis) vests to make themselves more visible, even if they are not working with dairy cows.

According to Angela, the most significant safety factor in farming is the dark nights, as farmers often work in low-light conditions without proper lighting or high-visibility gear. She recommended that each farmer should have toe protection, light, hi-vis clothing, headlamps, and head protection at a minimum. While clothing is an essential part of safety management, it should not be relied upon alone, as a safe environment is also necessary.

Angela suggested that farms should conduct a risk assessment to determine the appropriate clothing for their specific farming system, similar to how access to certain products is not allowed on a building site. As someone who has worked on a height rescue team, she noted that in any other environment, no one would be permitted to work at heights without proper safety equipment. Farmers working on ladders should be connected to something secure, and the ladder should be footed by someone else and inspected annually.

As someone who has experience in both the construction and farming industries, Angela can see how they are interrelated and where potential safety issues may arise. She believes that farms should be viewed as commercial places of work and approached from a safety standpoint.

Categories: Agriculture