FBD Public Liability

Grazing “the long acre”, or grass on the road margins, has often provided a treat for hungry livestock. Of course, some cattle are not content with grazing “the long acre”, preferring instead take a bite and leave a mark on a neighbour’s lovely garden. Lawns recently reseeded at considerable expense seem particularly attractive to wandering cattle and sheep!

Wandering bulls can also test neighbourly relations by initiating illicit encounters with female bovines, often of an inappropriate age.

However, given the speed and frequency of modern traffic, livestock on the road are a serious safety hazard and annually cause a number of serious accidents. At FBD, we find that a significant proportion of Public Liability claims are related to road incidents after the escape of livestock.

This year the concern is heightened because of weather conditions:

The shortage of grass can lead to a higher risk of cattle breaking out.
Livestock may be moved on the road more than normal this summer as farmers manage their grass supply.
Silage or grain harvesting can leave muck on the road and so cause motor accidents with consequent liability on the farmer.
Farmers need to have Public Liability insurance to cover them in the event of accidents caused by any of the above.

Public liability insurance is also a requirement for farm owners as they can be responsible for land related causes of accidents – for example, rotten trees that fall onto the road causing damage during storms, or substances carried onto the road from the farm such as muck or slurry.

Public liability insurance also provides cover for legal liability for bodily injury, disease or third party property damage caused to a member of the public by your farming activities or land ownership.FBD offer a limit of indemnity of €2.6million as standard.

Farmers should minimise the risk of problems by carrying out stock movement in a safe manner, maintain stockproof fencing, ensure livestock have sufficient water and grass and always clean the road after heavy farming traffic.

To deal with the accidents that can arise, make that you have Public Liability insurance in place. Your local FBD office will be happy to assist you so that, when your neighbour comes calling after an incident, you have the correct insurance protection in place.

After all, good fences – plus proper insurance cover – make for good neighbours!

FBD Employers Liability

There is a great tradition in Irish farming where neighbours, friends and relations join forces to share busy work periods in what is known ‘ás Gaeilge’ as a “meitheal”.

Likewise, family members of school or college going age are routinely cajoled into helping with silage, hay, the herd test or whatever needs to be done at busy times of the year.

Unfortunately, when accidents happen, as they inevitably do on occasion, it is the farmer who is often left with the financial cost of any claims that may arise. Apart from ensuring that the farm is run as safely as possible, the farmer should ensure that adequate insurance cover is in place to deal with these unexpected accidents.

To deal with that risk, farmers should strongly consider adding Employers Liability to their farm insurance policy.

Some farmers mistakenly believe that because they do not employ full time staff, Employers Liability cover is not relevant to them.

Employers Liability Insurance provides protection against a farmer’s legal liability for accidental injury to all employees in the course of their farming duties. This includes both permanent and casual labour, voluntary helpers, in addition to family members over 14 years of age working on the farm.

In FBD’s 40 years of experience offering insurance to the Irish farming community, we have dealt with numerous claims involving casual workers, voluntary helpers and family members working on farms. Many serious injuries, including fatalities, arise from basic day to day farm work where outside help is sought; such as for herding, testing, calving and transporting livestock; or during busy harvest periods where assistance is required to operate machinery. We see serious accidents arise on the farm from slips, trips and falls where a friend or neighbour is assisting in activities, such as, the covering of a silage pit or general farm maintenance.

Employers Liability insurance should not be confused with the absolutely essential Public Liability Insurance, which covers against risks such as animals escaping onto the road, visitors to the farm, muck on the road etc.

Certain activities, such as farm construction, horse training or agricultural contracting must be declared to FBD, so we can extend your cover accordingly.

Your local FBD office will be happy to explain the reasons why Employers Liability insurance should be strongly considered for your farm policy.

Spring season can be risky for farmers

During the months of February, March and April, an estimated 1.2 million cows will give birth on Irish farms. It is a busy time but also a potentially dangerous time – normally placid cows can take drastic action with their protective maternal instinct.

Experienced farmers will be very aware of how important it is to be particularly careful in the handling of livestock at this time. Farmers may seek assistance from neighbours, friends or other voluntary helpers or indeed family members. If cows lash out and cause injury it is very important that the farmer has adequate Employers Liability insurance in place to protect the serious potential loss here. The Public Liability policy will not extend to include such incidents as it is geared to third party injury or damage and not injury to employees. Any member of staff in our network of offices will be happy to discuss the cover in more detail – you may be surprised at the price, with minimum premiums in some circumstances running as low as €137 per annum.

This is also the time of year that farmers turn their attention to clearing slurry tanks. They will be eager to have the slurry tanks emptied or partially emptied in order to have adequate capacity for the remainder of the winter housing season.

It is very important that safety procedures are reviewed to ensure that there is no danger to man or beast from agitated slurry and associated poisoning from fumes. It is essential that the PTO is adequately guarded and that all slurry tank openings are securely guarded.

Always Evacuate and Ventilate the shed before agitating and do not attempt to enter the shed until at least 30 minutes after agitation has finished; remember toxic gases are being released even if you cannot smell them.

Sheep worrying

As this is the lambing season, sheep are particularly vulnerable to dog attack or worrying. It is important to be aware of this danger and make sure all dogs are properly secured and out of harm’s way.

We always encourage farmers to support each other by looking out for neighbouring farms and taking simple precautions. For sheep farmers FBD are in a position for a moderate premium to provide a quotation to cover losses from dog attacks or worrying. It is also important that if you own a dog you have an adequate Public Liability or Personal Liability Insurance to cover any claims made against you from this source.


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