Carlanstown farmer advises his peers to be careful with PTO shafts

Complete silence befell 90 farmers at a discussion organised by Meath TD Helen McEntee in Lobinstown last Wednesday morning when a Carlanstown farmer spoke about his decade-long struggle to overcome injuries caused by an accident with an uncovered PTO shaft.

At a farmers’ winter discussion organised by Deputy McEntee on the farm of Brenda and Frank Clare, Carlanstownn Farmer Bernard Farrell described in stunning detail his 10-year battle with kidney, liver, bone and neck problems all caused when he got caught by an uncovered PTO shaft.“2015 is the first summer since the accident in 2005 that I haven’t spent in hospital; I count myself extremely lucky to be alive, but the accident has destroyed so much. I’m telling you this story because nobody thinks that there’ll be an accident on their farm, but the reality is that you’re only the width of an uncovered shaft away from a decade of being in hospitals and your ability to work being changed permanently. So make sure that you have all your PTO shaft covered, and that what happened to me doesn’t happen to any of you,” said Mr Farrell. His comments about safe usage of PTOs were echoed at the event by John Callan (PJ Callan Farm Machinery).
‘Careful weaning reduces pneumonia risk’ – Meath vet
Farmers who attended the discussion were interested by a demonstration given by Meath vet Frank O’Sullivan, who dissected a bovine’s liver, stomach and lung to demonstrate the impact of fluke and pneumonia. Frank O’Sullivan’s key advice to farmers is that increased animal stress reduces immunity. “So many problems are caused at weaning, where farmers literally rip calves away from cows the morning they are brought to a mart and then to a new farm that evening.

“Careful weaning and also immediate vaccination of newly purchased stock are key,” advised the Meath vet.

At the event Gard Sgt Dean Kearns advised farmers to sign up to “Theft Stop”, which provides farmers with a security ID, linked to their IFA membership number, to mark farm equipment. This deters theft by helping farmers and Gardaí to identify stolen farm property.

John Woods of John Woods Garden Machinery Ardee demonstrated safe usage of chainsaws and PTO shafts, and Ciarán Roche of FBD Insurance advised farmers that most accidents are avoidable if farmers review their farms to identify safety risks and then address those risks. There was also a short presentation by Catherina Glancy of the Health & Safety Authority and from IFA farm safety & family representative, Maura Canning.

A contribution on land transfer by the Chairperson of Cavan Young Farmers’ Group Thomas Duffy (Virginia) stimulated significant debate amongst farmers who were present. Mr Duffy revealed that there are more farmers in Ireland aged over 85 than there are farmers aged under 35. “Land has to start moving”, he said. The event was also attended by Skryne’s Mick O’Dowd, Senior Business Development Manager (Agri.) with Bank of Ireland. Gormanston journalist and farmer Darragh McCullough was gust MC for the morning.

Commenting, Helen McEntee TD said: “I hope that this will be a healthy and safe winter in Meath for farmers and for their stock. Hopefully the advice and perspectives of the people who spoke on Brenda and Frank Clare’s farm will be useful and informative for the farmers who attended. If it results in one less farm accident happening this winter, or if it prompts farmers present to immunise against avoidable pneumonia problems in cattle, then it will have been a worthwhile event.”

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