Dublin-based agricultural consultant Richard Hackett said the pass could be voluntary for its first two years, but should then become mandatory if agreed targets were not met. This was one of the principle conclusions of a study Dr Hackett has just completed on behalf of the National Rural Network.
He also advocates an awareness campaign similar to that conducted on road safety, to highlight the risks of death and injury in farming.
“Farmers and bodies involved in servicing the sector should be involved in health and safety initiatives to coincide with the campaign,” said Dr Hackett. “With farming accounting for half of all workplace deaths in 2010 and long-term figures showing the risk of death to be seven times higher in farming than across all other sectors of the economy, a high-profile media campaign is clearly merited.”
The study advocates a radical approach to highlight the safety risks in farming, a comprehensive national farm safety training programme and a testing programme for all agricultural tractors.
The study suggests that this safety training should be provided by Teagasc, private consultants and independent safety consultants.
The study also wants to include health and safety training in the 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme, and that completion of farm health and safety training should be linked to selection and eligibility for schemes funded under future rural development measures.
lThe study on Addressing Health and Safety on the Farm is published by the National Rural Network and can be read on www.nrn.ie.