Deaths on farms have ’spiked’ with 21 killed so far this year

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is warning that farm workplace deaths have ’spiked’ with 21 reported so far this year.

The National Conference on Farm Safety and Health in Ennis, Co.Clare today is encouraging farmers to consider health and safety an essential part of their farm business.

Between two and three thousand safety visits are carried out by the Health Safety Authority every year.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD pictured speaking at the ‘National Conference on Farm Safety and Health’ Pic: Finbarr O'Rourke

Senior Inspector Pat Griffin says more training and awareness are needed:

"We really need to up the level of skills for farmers. So we need to provide more training as I have said there is loads of machinery but very little training done. So we need to have some system to improve the engagement of farmer in training. I think that could be one of the critical ways that we can change what’s happening on farms."

Geraldine O'Sullivan IFA, Alma Jordan, Author of Childrens farm Safety books and Diana Van Doorn. at the ‘National Conference on Farm Safety and Health’ Pic: Finbarr O'Rourke

"So tractors, loaders, teleporters and quads causing a huge number of deaths. But yet we know that farmers don’t get trained on these machines."

The HSA says more intensive farming is driving longer working hours where people are self-supervised.

Farming continues to be the most hazardous occupation in Ireland, consistently reporting the highest number of fatalities in comparison to other sectors over the last number of years.

Making the opening address, Minister Pat Breen said: “Farming remains an important part of Irish life and a key part of our economy.

"Across the farming community, there have been 21 people killed due to work activity so far in 2017. This is too high. Families are grieving. We must make every effort to ensure that workplace deaths in the farming industry are reduced.

"Progress is being made, information and training is out there but we need to change the mindset and culture and ensure that safety is a priority for farmers and their families."

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