Safety appeal made to farmers working with slats after fatal accident

The HSA has appealed to farmers and construction workers not to subject cattle slats to vehicular traffic under any circumstances.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued an urgent safety appeal to farmers following a fatal accident involving construction work on a farm.

The appeal is focused on concrete slats. The HSA has reminded farmers that cattle slats should not be subject to vehicular traffic under any circumstances. Tractor slats are designed for a maximum axle load of 7.8t, and this weight should not be exceeded.

The HSA also recommends that all slats be subject to regular integrity monitoring after 10 to 15 years. Farmers are asked not to enter tanks even when they are empty

Construction work

There are a number of legal obligations on farmers under health and safety regulations if a project is scheduled to last more than 30 days, involve more than one contractor or involve a particular risk.

A competent project supervisor for the design process (PSDP) must be appointed in writing before design work begins. At this stage, the farmer, designer and slat supplier should consider the need for vehicles to cross slats and avoid if possible

Before any construction work starts, a competent project supervisor for the construction stage (PSCS) must also be appointed. The PSCS/contractor must ensure existing agricultural slats are not exposed to excessive loads and new slats are manufactured to the correct standards in a certified plant.

Where construction work is being considered on a farm, the HSA said, “the farmer must ensure that the work is designed to be suitable for the intended purpose, is built in a safe manner and can be used and maintained in a safe manner after being built”.