Agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in Ireland.
The farming sector has more work-related deaths than any other industry.
Although agriculture only accounts for 6% of the country’s workforce, agriculture, forestry and fisheries together had 41% of Ireland’s work-related deaths in 2018.
Safety in the workplace is governed by the Safety Health & Welfare at Work Act 2008.
Under this Act, farmers are required to prepare and implement a safety statement.
However, farmers with three or fewer employers may instead follow the Code of Practice for preventing injury and occupation ill-health.
All farmers are recommended to read the Code and follow the practices contained within the document.
The code of practice sets out steps which should be taken, which include the following:
The second step is that you need to decide on prevention or control measures.
The final step is that you should review and update your safety statement and risk assessment regularly, and revise it annually.
Safety in the work place legislation stipulates:
Under the legislation, there is a duty to report an accident to the health and safety authority under certain circumstances, including where there is a dangerous occurrence, or where the death of a worker occurs.
There is also a duty to inform your employees of matters relating to health and safety including identifying any hazards, preventative measures that are in place concerning health and safety, and a name of a person or safety representative who can be contacted in an emergency situation.
The above deals with the legal requirements in respect of health and safety law, and we also recommend the following practical suggestions in respect of farm safety:
This is particularly important for those working with slurry.
For those who are working with slurry, it is important to ensure that there are high levels of ventilation.
Remember, children must be at least 14 years old, and have received training and be under the supervision of a responsible adult, to be allowed drive a tractor.
Identifying hazards and taking preventative measures and remedial actions are proven ways of reducing the risk of farm accidents.
In the event that you have been involved in an accident that may have legal implications, it is advisable that you take the advice of a solicitor.
Karen Walsh, from a farming background, is a solicitor practicing in Walsh & Partners, Solicitors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of ‘Farming and the Law’. Walsh & Partners also specialises in personal injury claims, conveyancing, probate and family law.
Email: email@example.com Web: www.walshandpartners.ie