A dangerous occupation - Factory farms

THE Health and Safety Authority and gardaí are investigating a farming accident in which a 14-year-old boy died in Carlow on Wednesday morning.

Donal English Hayden and his brother were in a tractor and trailer combination which overturned and ended up in a water-filled ditch. Donal’s 15-year-old brother survived with minor injuries. Both boys were due to go back to school today.

The tragedy is one of a spate of recent accidents to occur on farms. A HSE report shows that agriculture has the highest rate of fatalities among accidents that occur in the workplace.

While strict health and safety measures ensure Ireland has one of the lowest workplace fatalities in the industrialised world, farming remains a dangerous occupation with rates of deaths 20 times higher than in other sectors.

Last year was one of the worst on record in Ireland for farm tragedies. Some 30 people lost their lives, an alarming 87% increase on 2013. Five of those who died were children. Farms are not just homes; they are factories and should be seen as such by all those involved in ensuring workplace safety.

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