THE most dangerous occupation in Ireland is not a pilot, steel worker or industrial roofer but a farmer — yet too many doing this essential job either ignore or remain blissfully unaware of the dangers.
Farming nowadays is a highly mechanised business and the typical modern farm is a factory, full of heavy machinery and chemicals with the capacity to kill or cause serious injury.
A new ESRI report on farm accidents has found that young farmers, dairy farmers and those with the largest land holdings take the highest risks when working.
This is despite years of safety promotion by the Health and Safety Authority and farming bodies like the Irish Farmers Association.
Over the last 10 years, 197 people have died in farm accidents in Ireland and so far this year another 11 fatalities have been added to that total, some of them children.
The figures prove that, in terms of lives lost, farming is 10 times more dangerous than most other jobs.
The report shows that seeking more help from for difficult jobs on the farm is the key to reducing accidents and fatalities. Farmers — many of them facing burnout from an increasing workload — must be prepared to seek that help and the Government must respond by granting work permits to skilled farm workers from non-EU countries.
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