WATCH: ‘Lack of common sense, a disgrace and shocking’ – investigation launched into dangerous farm stunts viral challenge
A raft of videos showing young Irish farmers performing increasing dangerous stunts involving heavy machinery, putting their lives at risk have been doing the rounds and the social media outlet hosting them is launching an investigation into the viral challenge.
With eight deaths due to accidents on Irish Farms already this year there has been outrage among farming groups, health and safety agencies, and the Department of Agriculture at what is seen as needless, dangerous and shocking behaviour.
This afternoon the video-sharing social media platform TikTok said it is launching an investigation into a series of posts allegedly from young Irish farmers engaging in dangerous acts for what appears to be an online challenge. Tik Tok says it will remove any content that “encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury”.
The Irish Farmers Association has come down hard on the videos saying : “Tiktok users recording pranks with farm machinery are a disgrace.
Their President Tim Cullinan in a statement released on the IFA website said: “This practice is grossly irresponsible and is an accident waiting to happen.
“I am disgusted that people could be so casual and have no regard for the dangers involved in what they are doing,” he concluded.
The videos show numerous different stunts including three tractors involved in a race along a narrow boreen; a young man balancing on the trailers hitch between the cabin and the trailer as the tractor speeds down the road; another shows a teen on a four-wheeler quad trying to scale a near vertical incline before nearly rolling back onto barbed or electric wire.
Others show a young man riding on the engine housing of a tractor, while another leaps of the shoot of a Combine Harvester into a silage trailer as both machines are moving.
The Health and Safety Authority has weighed in and said: “The antics of the farm workers in these videos is shocking.
HSA Assistant Chief Executive Mark Cullen in a statement released said it is “pure luck” there have been no fatalities because of the challenge.
“Not only is there a complete lack of even the most basic safety precautions, there is a complete lack of common sense and total disregard for their own safety and the safety of those around them.”
“Farmers and contractors must take a zero-tolerance approach with this type of behaviour and make it clear to farm workers that under no circumstances is it acceptable.
“The Health and Safety Authority will not hesitate to take robust action where we can identify the individuals and the employers concerned.”
Just before lunch Agriculture Minister Michael Creed took to Twitter to express his dismay at the stunts being attempted in the clips.
“This is alarmingly childish immature behaviour,” the Minister said.
“I see boys tasked with adult work clearly incapable of responsibility. I’m sure their families will be mortified. They’re lucky that’s curable. Too many others are not so fortunate!” the Minister concluded.