Strategies seek to curb farm accident deaths

STRATEGIES to curb farm accident deaths and injuries are to be considered at a national seminar jointly organised by the Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc.

It will be held in Athy, Co Kildare, on August 14 as concern grows that agriculture-related accidents account for 30% of all workplace deaths.

There were 21 deaths in the sector last year and a further five people have lost their lives in farm accidents this year. An estimated 1,800 accidents occur each year in the sector, which employs just 6% of the working population.

The Health and Safety Authority said in addition to the suffering caused by these accidents, injury and ill health also have the potential to jeopardise the livelihood of the farming family.

A world expert in farm related occupational health and safety, Prof Risto Rautiainen, deputy director, Great Plains Centre for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa in the United States, will address the seminar.

More than 100 farmers who recently completed a safety and health course will receive their Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) certificates at the event.

Pat Griffin, senior inspector, Health and Safety Authority, said training is a key factor in reducing accidents.

“The farmers that have completed the course are to be commended and I hope to see more farmerscomplete this and theTeagasc-run farm safety code of practice course in the near future,” he said.

Teagasc health and safety officer John McNamara said the presentations and theme of the seminar will focus on how to improve safety and health standards and theassociated benefits to the agriculture sector.

“It is important that as many farmers, farmers’ leaders and anyone with an interest in health and safety on farms attends,” he said.

Recent research conducted in Ireland on the farm business impact of injury and ill health will be presented at the seminar, which will be held at the Clanard Court Hotel, Athy, with FBD Insurances as sponsors.

Helpful ways of managing stress in farming will also be outlined and Athy farmer David Butler will speak about attending a Teagasc FETAC health and safety training course.

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