December 6, 2023

Kilkenny pensioner killed in farm tragedy laid to rest as new inspection campaign gets underway

A NEW farm inspection campaign has been launched today.

It comes as a South Kilkenny pensioner was laid to rest over the weekend after he was killed in a tragic accident involving a septic tank last week.

Johnny Phelan from Kilkmacow, who was in his 70s, suffered fatal injuries while helping to empty a septic tank on a farm in Ferrybank.

The tragic death of the father-of-four and grandfather tragic came as the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) today began an intensive inspection campaign with a focus on the safe use of tractors and machinery on farms.

Over the last 10 years just over half (51pc) of all fatal farm injuries involved vehicles (30pc) and machinery (21pc). Farm vehicles are generally defined as tractors, loaders or quad bikes.

In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of fatalities involving farm vehicles, particularly quad bikes.

Health and Safety Authority Senior Inspector Pat Griffin said: “Our message is clear, advance preparation and formal training is the key to working safely with machinery on farms. Farmers must make sure they have the necessary skills and competence to do the job safely. The condition of the machinery is also vital.”

According to the HSA, the majority of accidents with tractors or machinery involve a combination of poor planning, operator error, lack of training, maintenance issues or the presence of children/elderly near work activity.

Farmers are being urged to consider the following:
* Has the work activity been planned in advance?
Has the driver or operator received formal training?
Are handbrakes or parking brakes working properly?
Are cabs and doors in good condition?
Are tractor mirrors set and maintained correctly?
Is work organised to avoid the presence of young children or other vulnerable individuals such as elderly family members?

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