Stay on top of maintenance
Make a list of repairs and get them done as soon as possible. All too often we put simple repairs on the long finger, only to regret not having completed them sooner when the issue becomes more complex, more expensive and more dangerous.
Lighting and electrics
Do an inventory on lighting and electrics, making sure all plugs are correctly wired and your cables are solid. Check that all regular walkways are well-lit and replace any blown bulbs. If there are any electrical repairs needed, make sure they’re carried out by a registered electrician.
Check that all mirrors, lights and indicators are working. Make sure the handbrake is working, to avoid accidents caused by poor braking, and that your anti-freeze is topped-up.
Be safe, be seen
Whenever you head outside, make sure you’re visible – particularly when working near machinery. Always wear fluorescent, high-vis garments, making sure to avoid loose clothing or jackets when using farm machinery. Always let someone know you’re heading out and when you plan to be back, and arm yourself with a torch and a fully-charged mobile phone.
As the cold weather sets in and you move some of your vehicles indoors, make sure they’re parked safely away from any combustible materials at the end of each day. Make sure straw and hay aren’t in contact with electrical components or lighting, to prevent ignition. Move any flammable materials away from livestock buildings and houses.
Education is key
Whether you have children living on the farm with you, or have younger ones coming to visit this Christmas, it goes without saying that extra precautions should be taken when children are involved. Check out our specific tips for child safety on the farm here.
Slow and steady wins the race
This one may sound obvious, but adopting a mindful attitude – especially where heavy machinery is involved – will ensure tasks are completed in a methodical manner that avoids mistakes associated with rushing and carelessness.
Whatever the weather
When it comes to Irish weather, there’s no telling just what the season will throw up. Make a plan for how you’ll get food and water to your livestock in the event of a storm, frost or a heavy snowfall. Check your water supply and ensure pipes aren’t going to freeze. Make sure you have all the supplies you need, like fuel, animal feed, grit and sand.
Protect what matters
Unfortunately, this time of year can also be one where farmers find themselves at increased risk of accident or illness. Should the unexpected happen, are you prepared? We know that looking ahead pays.
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