Farming special - Day 3: Annus horribilis for farming safety as 21 deaths so far this year

The current year was described at the National Ploughing Championships yesterday as annus horribilis for farming-related deaths.
Farming special - Day 3: Annus horribilis for farming safety as 21 deaths so far this year

A total of 21 people in the sector were killed during the first nine months of 2014 compared with 10 for the same period last year.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney launched the first in a series of Embrace Farm video; entitled ‘What’s Left Behind’, it features video testimonies of bereaved families.

A greater effort must be made on farm safety, particularly to change the mindset in relation to it, he said.

The video tells the story around the fallout following the death of Offaly U21 hurling manager Dermot Hogan this summer.

The death of Liam Rohan, Shanahoe, Co Laois, in a farm accident two years ago led to the setting up by his son Brian of Embrace Farm.

Each of the videos being produced will feature farm families that have suffered great loss and will give an insight into the emotional and practical loss associated with such accidents.

Brian Rohan said risks with farming are going to grow in the years ahead as farming intensifies.

It was disclosed that accidents involving tractors and machinery have been the main cause of serious and fatal accidents on farms over the last 10 years.

Fourteen of the accidents that have claimed the lives of 21 people this year involved tractors and machinery.

The Health and Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, and the Road Safety Authority launched an ‘Essential Tractor Safety Checks’ leaflet in an effort to improve and increase awareness around tractors.

Mr Coveney also launched a guide, ‘Farm Safety with Electricity: It Makes Sense to Check’, part of a wider campaign by ESB Networks.

Pat Naughton of the ESB said electricity is a powerful and versatile source of energy but can be dangerous to farm workers, their families, and livestock if not used properly. “ESB Networks is committed to providing a safe and secure electricity infrastructure and we work hard to educate and inform the public in relation to electrical safety.

“We must always make safety a priority on farms, in the work place and in the family home,” he said.

There were 66 fatalities due to electrocution from 1995 to 2013.

New scheme will provide practical help for bereaved

by Conall Ó Fátharta

A new scheme to help the families of farmers struggling with the day-to-day running of a farm following a sudden bereavement has been set up by the Department of Agriculture.

It comes after the Irish Examiner/ICMSA survey found that more than half of farmers had been directly affected by suicide, either in their immediate family or in the community.

The scheme, which comes into operation from Monday, will provide help to farming families that have suffered sudden tragedies and face subsequent challenges in their dealings with issues surrounding ownership, entitlements, scheme applications, succession and inheritance.

The service aims to help families who have suffered a recent loss and may not have experience in dealing with the type of issues that might come with contacting the Department, in relation to schemes and services.

The range of schemes and services are very broad, so farm families who need assistance at a time of great upset in their lives will be given all the assistance and guidance possible to make their dealings with the Department as easy and as straightforward as possible.

Families who find themselves in such circumstances may contact the Quality Customer Services Unit at qualityserviceunit@agriculture.gov.ie or lo-call 0761 064445

It can also be contacted by post at Assistance Liaison Officer, Quality Services Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Grattan House, Grattan Business Centre, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois.

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