The Health and Safety Authority has distanced itself from comments made by one of its inspectors who was reported as saying pedestrians and cyclists should keep off roads durning silage harvesting.
The comments, which were published by the Farming Independent and on Independent.ie, are not in line with the Government’s Road Safety Strategy which puts a larger responsibility on motorists over people walking and cycling.
The comments also implied that anybody walking and cycling a road would somehow have advanced knowledge that there was silage harvesting on-going somewhere along the road or if the road was being used as a route for such machinery.
When contacted by IrishCycle.com this afternoon, a spokesperson for the HSA said that they could understand concerns over the article in today’s Farming Independent and said: “We appreciate the opportunity to clarify our position.”
The spokesperson said: “In relation to silage harvesting, the focus of the HSA is very firmly on the duty holder and workers. The line attributed to our inspector was an unintended miscommunication and we do not propose for a moment that other road users, whether they be drivers, cyclists or pedestrians, avoid using a public road as normal.”
The spokesperson added: “During silage harvesting activity, the core duty of care rests with those supervising and undertaking the work.”
The Farming Independent quoted a HSA senior agriculture inspector, Pat Griffin, as stating: “For people that are going to cycle or walk on the road while this is going on, I know it’s something that would probably be dismissive if I said it but, stay off the road for a day.
“The size of the harvesting machinery these days, they clear fields in an area probably in a day or two days at the very most. So stay off the road that’s being used at that time for silage harvesting. It doesn’t go on for long in any one particular area,” he told the newspaper.
He added: “If they do want to go out on the roads and walk the roads as this is going on, wear a high vis vest even in sunny conditions.”