Farms are places we all love to spend time working and looking after our animals and crops but unfortunately farms can be dangerous places. Farms are different to any other workplace as in many cases, it is also a home where children, working adults and elderly all live together. Sometimes farmers put other priorities ahead of farm safety, which is something we need to change. Farmers are under a lot of pressure to get jobs done on time, usually before the rain, but it is important to prioritise safety as there are more important things in life. A farmer is a vet, a machine operator, a mechanic and an accountant to name a few. No other profession must cover as many bases. We are trying to get everything done in a limited time frame. It puts pressure on farmers and unfortunately, that is when accidents happen. Sadly, we have had this terrible experience ourselves.
On September 19th 2017, my brother Martin died in a farm accident on our farm. Unfortunately, Martin was unlucky. While trying to fix a blockage in one our storage tanks he was overcome with gases. Martin worked alongside my father and I to ensure Kehoe Farming was a success with him overlooking the feed end of things. Martin was always on the go, starting very early in the morning, everything had to be done right and fast. There was no such thing as standing still in our yard. Even with his busy workday, Martin always made time for Kerrie, Aoibheann, Saoirse and Tadgh each evening.
This freak accident showed us that one split second can change your life and everyone else’s. Often a farmer is not focusing on one job, their mind is racing at 100 miles an hour as they are thinking about the cows, the crops, the silage, and all the other jobs. If all of us could just slow down for a minute and think, the work will be done. When a farm accident happens, whether its fatal or a loss of limbs. It is life changing for everybody on the farm and its tough. It is not until it knocks on your own door that you realise how devastating it is.
Willie John Kehoe