Farm Safety Forum with FBD and ESB Networks

Pictured at the Farm Safety Forum are Ciaran Roche, Risk Manager, FBD; Dr Aoife Osborne, FBD Lecturer in Farm Safety, UCD; Professor Alex Evans, Dean of Agriculture, UCD and Arthur Byrne, Public Safety Manager, ESB Networks

As part of a major national Farm Safety campaign, taking place from 11th -22nd April 2016, the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, in conjunction with FBD and ESB Networks, coordinated a successful forum connected with farm safety at the UCD Agriculture and Food Science Centre recently. A large number of students from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science participated in the forum, organised by Dr Aoife Osborne, FBD Lecturer for Farm Health and Safety at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. Dr Osborne coordinates a module connected with farm safety entitled “Health, Welfare and Safety in Agriculture” that is undertaken by second year students in advance of completing Professional Work Experience.

Opening the forum, Professor Alex Evans, Dean, UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science outlined the grim statistics on the number of farm related accidents in Ireland, while also commending the significant commitment of progressive organisations such as FBD and ESB Networks that are helping change attitudes and behaviour on the important topic of farm safety. Professor Evans highlighted that fatal accidents in the sector now account for almost 50% of all workplace deaths, while farms make up just 6 per cent of workplaces. Approximately 2,500 non-fatal accidents causing injury take place each year on Irish farms. (Teagasc, National Farm Survey, 2011).

Ciaran Roche, FBD Risk Manager and Arthur Byrne, Public Safety Manager for ESB Networks spoke to students about practices their respective companies follow in order to educate the farming community about improving safety on farms. During their addresses, both speakers acknowledged the critical role of UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science students and graduates with regard to improving awareness and changing attitudes and behaviour around farm safety.

Speaking at the forum, Ciaran Roche outlined the rationale and successes to date of the FBD Champions for Change campaign and encouraged students and graduates to join the campaign to help bring about change.

Arthur Byrne, Public Safety Manager for ESB Networks discussed electrical safety on farms, while also highlighting the requirement and urgency for a more professional approach towards farm safety in Ireland. ESB Networks announced details of an exciting Farm Safety competition for UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science students that was launched with the Agricultural Science Student Society (AgSoc) in advance of the forum.

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