All farmers should be able to claim back VAT on essential farm safety equipment and clothing, according to ICSA president Patrick Kent.
Kent said Farm Safety Week is about taking practical steps to promote a safe working environment on the farm, a simple measure like this could make a big difference.
“We are talking about PTO shafts, protective clothing and gloves for spraying and protective equipment for optimising safety when using chainsaws. We do not want to see farmers skimping on these or other safety essentials but, being realistic, they are expensive for farmers who are under pressure with low commodity prices,” he said.
“Farm Safety Week highlights the need to minimise or remove risks across the farming spectrum. At the very least we need to ease the financial burden placed on the farmer in this regard.
“We believe that a VAT refund for flat-rate farmers would be very helpful. The Government needs to look at how it can make a contribution to farm safety”, he said.
The Farm Safety Week initiative was launched with the aim of reducing the number of farm accidents. At the moment, the agriculture industry has the poorest safety record of any occupation in Ireland and the UK.
During Farm Safety Week (4-8 July) there will be five days of themed practical farm safety advice and guidance asking farmers to consider ‘Who would fill your boots?’ if an accident occurred on the farm.
Poorly used or faulty machinery is a major cause of death and injury on farms. Farmers come into contact with a host of machinery on a daily basis which bring their own attendant dangers.
Hands, hair and clothing can be caught by unguarded PTO shafts or other unguarded moving parts such as pulleys and belts. People can be injured by front-end loaders, falling from a moving tractor or being struck by its wheels.
Machinery accidents can be prevented by keeping the machine in good repair, fitting and ensuring all safety equipment (such as guards, safe access platforms and ROPS on tractors) are operating with the machine at all times and not taking risks when working with powerful machinery.