“Core duty of care rests with those supervising and undertaking” silage harvesting, not cyclists and pedestrians, says HSA

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.

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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.”


  1. I know the HSA subsequently distanced itself from its inspectors remark, but for me yet another government safety agency joins the ranks of motordom enablers.

  2. The Health and Safety Authority, have quite rightly distanced themselves from this Mad Max, Fury Road type of statement, issued by one of their representatives.

    Barely out of chilhood teens are deemed the ideal pilots for massive farm machinery, and will spend their entire Summer doing a combination of, baling, drawing, and terrorising other road users, on narrow country roads.

    These inexperienced kids and their tractors, will be the most dangerous objects on the roads for the duration of this “grassfest.”

    The Farm Relief Services issued a similar type of statement in 2022, reminding the public of their responsibilities on the road, due to the presence of monster tractors. Ironically it did mention the machinery drivers to be aware of other road users, as an afterthought.

    The stage is set then, for these kids to transition from muscle tractors to lethal muscle cars and the cycle of violence and death goes on.


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