Teagasc promoted farm safety through theatre, at the Teagasc  Moorepark ’19 Dairy Open Day on Wednesday, July 3. The safety theatre took  place at regular intervals as part of a major health and safety exhibit at the event.

The approach of using theatre follows its success in USA where research shows it has potential to assist with changing values and practices regarding safety. 

The research by Professor Debbie Reed and Ms Debbie Claunch of the University of Kentucky indicates that farmers identified with the real stories depicted by theatre and followed up on implementing the messages delivered.

In the USA study, 42% of participating farmers had made immediate positive follow-up changes related to safe work behaviour and 67% were “thinking about/intending” of making changes.

The farm safety theatre at Moorepark ’19 was directed by Michael Somers, Teagasc Forestry development officer and amateur dramatist. 

Ciaran Roche, Risk Manager with FBD Insurance, sponsors of the event, stated that it is vital to be innovative in relation to farm safety communications to cut the toll of tragedy, pain and suffering associated with farm injuries and ill health. 

“The Farm Safety theatre was aimed at all family members, young and not so young,” he added. 

The farm safety theatre is part of a major health and safety exhibit involved  practical safety demonstrations related to farm machinery, livestock safety and farm building design and maintenance including silage and slurry safety. 

Teagasc health and safety officer Dr John McNamara pointed out that 19% occur on dairy farms with 49% of victims aged 60 or older.

He stated: “health and safety management is really important especially on dairy farms due to scale and workload.”