Teresa Mannion visits Cloghan’s Hill school where Padraic Godwin and Aoibheann Mangan speak about farm safety. (report starts approx 16:18)
Broadcast on the 25th January 2016.
Transcription by Pauline Connolly
Farm Safety & Young People
We all know that farms can be very busy places. There’s a lot going on, for instance at Padraig Lambert’s farm in Curra in the Dublin mountains. Safety is of paramount importance on farms. They can be dangerous places. Last year, eighteen people lost their lives in farm accidents, four of them were children.
Two primary school pupils in Galway have designed an award winning website which highlights the dangers on farms and encourages people especially children to be very careful.
Teresa Mannion have been to Cloghan’s Hill National School in Tuam to find out about this website.
Report by Teresa Mannion
It maybe a tiny rural school in North Galway but Cloghan’s Hill in Tuam punches well above its weight.
Padraic Godwin and Aoibheann Mannion are two of the fourteen pupils from farming families attending Cloghan’s Hill. Together, they created this award winning website farmsafety4kids.net
(Demo in Classroom)
What is the dangers about the gates?
‘If you leave them open, it could cause an accident on the road if the bull comes out.’
‘If the gate is loose, it could fall on top of you.’
Slurry pit is a mix of manure and water and it’s spread by farmers as a fertiliser. There’s two main dangers.
Mikey ‘The fumes could kill you’
Cian ‘You could slip into if it’s open’
Iseult Mangan Principal Cloghan’s Hill National School
This website is an excellent resource for children. When we initially started doing the project in school, the children pointed out that all the farm safety information was online for adults or teachers to teach their children. There was very little child friendly material that
a) They understood what they were reading
b) There were no quizzes, games or videos that they deemed were suitable for small children.
They decided to put in up on a website, make it child friendly and user friendly. They’ve gotten great feedback from schools all over Ireland who’ve viewed the website. It’s becoming a good resource in the classroom for teachers as well as children.
Offaly farmer Padraig Higgins lost his six year old son James in an accident on the family farm in 2008.
(Shows photo of James)
He was six. He used to be out on the farm everyday with us, he used to be feeding the calves until on Saturday we were all working on the farm but James couldn’t work with us because he had to get his glasses. We had dug a hole, it was to let the water off the roof of the shed into the hole and fill it stones so that the water would soak away but we didn’t put the stones in it. When we looked around, we found James’s knitted cap floating around in the water. We looked in, James got drowned on the farm.
Later, the children visited a nearby dairy farm to see the high risk dangers first hand and to instill the message that a farm is not a playground. Over the past decade, more than two hundred people have died on farm accidents in Ireland from the very young right up to senior citizens. The three main danger areas on farms are machinery, slurry pits and bulls. Sadly, most of these tragic accidents are completely avoidable if the proper safety measures are in place.
Terry Godwin farmer
When we want to agitate the slurry, we lift each individual grid. There’s a grid that will stop anybody from falling in. The tank is 8ft deep, anyone going in would be drowned straight away. When we want to get the machine in, lift the grid to open up the tank and make sure there’s no one around.
This is a safe controlled demonstration of best practice when it comes to operating farm machinery but there are many factors that can cause serious accidents and fatalities – inexperienced operators, speed & lack of concentration and unguarded machine parts especially the PTO shaft which powers equipment attached to tractors.
The main reason that the covers on these shafts is that is revolutes so fast that any piece of loose clothing on you will get caught, you get wrapped up so fast, it could take and arm, leg or more than likely kill you.
Galway farmer Padraig Gohery lost his leg in an accident in 2009 when his clothes got entangled with a PTO shaft
‘When I looked down, I seen my leg was gone clean off me because I had a pair of overalls and there was a small little bit of clothing sticking one side of the overalls. When they got too close to the power shaft, even though it was barely ticking over, it still sucked in my clothing and when it did that, it just stripped the overalls off me, made a rope effect of them and it took the leg clean off me. I never felt anything.’
Ryan Gohery (son)
I was in big shock at the time. I was only a ten year old boy. There’s a lot more people taking their time at different things because of all the accidents down through the years. Like the sheer grab shown earlier, it should be always placed on the ground with the cover shutdown so that no one can run into it.
When that man lost his son with the farming, it was really really sad and how the man lost his leg with the PTO shaft, they don’t expect it happen and they can’t believe it.
A farmyard is not a playground. You wouldn’t let children out on a construction site to play at their leisure. You wouldn’t do the same on a farm.
I think it’s brilliant because kids at this age are like sponges. They’ll take everything in and they’ll go home and they’ll drive the message home to the parents on the farm. I think, the parents will listen to the kids and when they see how easy simple changes can be done to make safety a priority on the farm, the kids will drive that message home.
We should all exercise caution around animals and around farms.