Irish Company launch first specialised range of Farm Safety Wear designed to reduce injuries

Ireland’s leading PPE and work-wear Company develop new product range designed to reduce farm accidents

With approximately 2,500 accidents occurring on Irish farms annually, County Mayo based company, Portwest, Europe’s leading work-wear and personal protective equipment manufacturers have developed a new line of safety wear designed to reduce farm injuries. The family run business, which celebrated 110 years in business last year, has begun rolling out their ‘Farm Safety Centre’s’ in agri-stores across Ireland.

In 2014, there were 30 fatal farm accidents which was the highest ever recorded statistic in over 20 years. Portwest committed many months of research and have heavily invested in their first farm safety range as they seek to assist in supporting a decrease in farm accidents and fatalities. Two of the key products within The Portwest X Range have been selected to feature within the Innovation Arena at the 2015 National Ploughing Championships, being held in association with Enterprise Ireland and Irish Farmers Journal.

“We have been manufacturing work-wear and PPE for the work-place environment for over 100 years. With over one in ten Irish farms reporting a farm accident annually, we felt an onus to specifically develop and promote products specifically designed for safety and comfort of farmers. As a manufacturer of work wear and personal protective equipment based in rural Ireland, we are committed to playing our part in reducing incidents and fatalities occurring on Irish farms. “says Owen Hughes of Portwest.

Many farm injuries can be prevented or their impacts minimised if farmers are wearing the correct personal protective equipment. The Irish company identified a disparity in the levels of awareness which those working in agriculture have towards ensuring proper work-wear is worn at all times on the farm to support promotion of a culture of safety. They found that farmers do not pay heed to necessary safety features in clothing such as;

– Wearing clothing that has flaps or draw-cords that increase the likelihood of getting a garment caught in machinery

– Ensuring garments have some reflective elements to increase an individual’s visibility

– Respiratory protection against inhalation hazards such as pesticides, heavy dust and gases

– Hearing protection to avoid aural damage during high-pitched or loud noise level activities

– Adequate feet protection that ensures protection against incidents of potential danger to the feet such as falling or rolling objects, chemical or liquid exposures, sharp objects or where feet are exposed to potential electrical hazards

Portwest have liaised with Farm Agencies in Ireland throughout the product development process and the garments, designed to meet the specific demands of the farming environment, have been fully certified in line with the most up to date European legislation.

“The development process saw us carry out extensive research among farmers and farming groups such as The National Irish Safety Organisation along with farm managers and mart managers. We are certain the PPE needs of Irish farmers will be met and especially with our two products within The Portwest X Range. Our next step is to educate the farming community on the importance of proper work-wear practises and understand the dangers associated with improper clothing or equipment.” says Catriona McNally, Senior Product Manager with Portwest.

The company have also developed an accompanying farm safety booklet with messages from Macra Na Feirme and Embrace Farm to further create awareness on how the proper work-wear alongside implementing other farm safety measures can go a long way towards decreasing tragic incidents.

Portwest employs over 2,000 staff worldwide and have offices in Ireland, the UK, Poland, Germany, Dubai, China, Bangladesh and the USA.

Portwest Farm Safety products are available in farm stores nationwide