Safety campaign to launch as 16 people die on farms so far this year

Safety campaign to launch as 16 people die on farms so far this year

A farm inspection campaign across the island of Ireland will be carried out from next week to highlight safe working practices for farmers.

The fortnight-long inspection will focus on ensuring farmers are safely carrying out work at height.

Inspectors from the Health Safety Authority (HSA) and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) will begin visiting farms from Monday.

Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors to work in, and last year, there were 31 deaths on farms, with 25 of these occurring in the Republic and six in Northern Ireland.

16 people have been killed on farms in the Republic so far this year, with one of these fatalities as a result of a fall from a height.

The HSA says falls can occur in particular during the repair of buildings damaged due to storms.

Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector for Agriculture safety with the HSA says that planning is a key component: “We are asking farmers to plan ahead and make sure that work at height is only carried out using the proper equipment and with protective measures in place.

"This can be done by carrying out a risk assessment that identifies all of the hazards, especially when working to repair fragile roofs.

Most falls from height are fatal, it’s not worth taking a risk.

While 6% of the working population is employed in the agriculture industry, the sector "frequently accounts" up to 50% of workplace deaths according to the HSA.

So fair in 2018, Galway has been the county with the most fatalities at three, followed by Tipperary with two, and 11 other counties where one person has died.

Yesterday, a 47-year-old man in Tipperary was killed after a tree fell on the digger he was working on.

Seven deaths have been caused this year by tractors or other farm vehicles. Livestock has been attributed to the deaths of five people, with fatalities caused by machinery, timber, slurry and a fall from height.

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