SURVIVING A FARM ACCIDENT
The Fine Line
Farming accidents are the highest of all workplace accidents which happen annually on the Island of Ireland. Surviving a FARM accident means you have escaped the fine line between life and death in many instances. However, after the accident tells another story. Adapting to life after an accident can take a survivor through many stages.
Embrace FARM is here to support FARM accident survivors. In conjunction with the Health & Safety Authority, profiling the life of a FARM accident is vitally important to raise awareness for all ages who are in the Farming environment. With special thanks to the Health & Safety Authority (HSA), please find below some of the first-hand accounts from FARM accident survivors and their stories compiled over two series.
Peter Gohery (Board Member at Embrace FARM) – Survivors story after injuries from an unguarded PTO shaft
Ann Doherty – A vicious attack from a bull
Aengus Mannion – Harrowing accident who was crushed by a teleporter
Liam O’Keeffe – An amputee because of an attack from a bull in 2007
FARM ACCIDENT SURVIVORS CONFERENCE
The first FARM Accident Survivors Conference
The ‘Family Panel’
2017 saw Embrace FARM host its first FARM Accident Survivors Conference held in the Midland’s Park Hotel in Portlaoise on the 25th November last. Being very empathically organised by Embrace FARM Chairperson Brian Rohan, his wife Norma and board member Peter Gohery, the day was to touch on many people who had been affected by FARM accidents. Opening with Survivors Stores, it shared the experiences of Kerrie Leonard, who at the age of 6 fell from the tractor her father was driving and was run over to be left paralysed from the waist down since the tragic day. Liam O’Keeffe, who sustained injuries which left him unable to FARM for up to two years after the accident when he was attacked by a bull. Finally, William Sawyer from County Tyrone, spoke of a tragic day when he was 12 and his jacket got stuck on the PTO shaft just as he was getting ready to spread the last load of slurry for the day. This happened in 1990, and William shared what an impact this has had on his life with those in attendance at the conference.
Post an accident, the stress and trauma of an accident can have devastating effects on family and friends of the FARM accident survivor. The middle section of the conference focused on the ‘Family Panel’ where family members whose lives had been turned upside down because of their loved ones’ accident were shared. Firstly, there was Alison, whose husband Dominic suffered a brain injury in 2010 as a result where he was unable to recall the events of the accident itself. With three young children, from the moment the call was raised for the ambulance to when Dominic recovered took over three years. The stress and trauma the accident had on the family took it’s toll especially with such young children to raise.
Farming Accidents and Mental Health
The next section of the conference was led from key note speaker Dr. Jennifer Hayes, who is a HSE Clinical Psychologist based in Cork. Dr. Hayes shared with us the impact Farming accidents have on our Mental Health. Speaking of the isolation and stress that can occur post a FARM accident, Dr Hayes advised to reach out to family and friends for support. The presence of a Mental Heath professional closely linked for conference attendees the many impacts a Farming accident has on a person and their loved ones.
Finally, the conference closed with the more practical arrangements a Farming accident can present. Aisling Meehan (Agri Solicitor and Legal Counsel to Embrace FARM), Paul Cuddy (FBD Insurances Manager from Laois) and John Cuddihy (Machinery Adaptions) formed the final panel of the day. Exploring the legal impacts of a Farming accidents, the insurance implications (where applicable) and if required the adaption of machinery and processes around the FARM for a FARM accident survivor were all areas covered by the panel to attendees on the day. It was both educational and informative for people, and in many ways highlighted the awareness of what it is to be prepared for all eventualities even if an accident has affected your own life personally, yet the risk is always present.
A Few Words from Embrace FARM
The day closed with a very poignant few words from Embrace FARM’s Chairperson, Brian Rohan. Brian acknowledged all those who participated, attended and organised Embrace FARM’s First FARM Accident Survivors Conference. What stood out very strongly from this event for everyone involved was the peer support and very open understanding of a FARM accident survivors situation.
Embrace FARM will host another FARM Accident Survivor’s Conference in late 2018, and we would ask you to keep an eye on our website and social media platforms for updates on this later in the year.