Safety authority begins blitz of farm checks in bid to reduce accidents

A TWO-week blitz of farm inspections by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) began yesterday in an effort to reduce the number of accidents that occur in agriculture each year.

So far this year there have been five work-related deaths on farms, accounting for 50% of all workplace deaths.

The HSA said the fact that farming employs just 6% of the workforce makes it all the more concerning. Last year, accidents in the sector accounted for 21 deaths and nearly 2,000 injuries.

A study of the causes of accidents by the HSA and Teagasc shows that most accidents involve tractors/machinery (49%), followed by livestock (15%), falls from height (12%) and drowning (12%).

HSA senior inspector Pat Griffin said the accidents involving machinery are usually due to poor maintenance, hurried or incorrect use.

“If farmers were to address even this one key issue they would be going a long way towards making their farms a safe place to work,” he said.

Mr Griffin said the vast majority of farm accidents are preventable and farmers should take the assistance offered by the various advisory services available.

By studying the locations of fatal farm accidents over the last 10 years the HSA and Teagasc have identified a number of black spots.

Last month, they held safety seminars in the Teagasc centres in Tipperary, Cork, Westmeath and Cavan to raise awareness and give advice.

Meanwhile, Irish Farmers Association Farm Family Committee chairwoman Mary Sherry has urged farmers to take time to review their farm safety code of practice and all risk assessment documents.

She said farmers should make safety a priority on their farms.


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