Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has today (Thursday 12th May) joined with the Health and Safety Authority and the Irish Farmers’ Association to call on farmers to make safety a priority during what is a period of heightened activity on farms. Six of the 18 deaths reported in Irish workplaces this year have occurred in the agriculture sector.
“Farming is the most dangerous of all sectors, and we have seen four people killed on Irish farms in the past eight weeks. If the accident rate continues at this pace, 2011 will be yet another year with a tragically high accident rate on farms. I urge all farmers to keep their safety and that of their families in mind at all times.”
The Minister added that he intends to call farming interests together in the near future to discuss farm safety and to encourage them to continue to spread the farm safety message.
All of the fatal accidents that have occurred so far this year have involved machinery or livestock and these two areas, along with drowning, have been responsible for the majority of deaths in the last 10 years according to Martin O’Halloran CEO of the Health and Safety Authority.
“Roughly 50% of all farm deaths involve farm vehicles or machinery and unguarded PTO shafts are still the cause of many deaths on farms. The next most dangerous area is livestock-handling, with livestock attacks accounting for 15% of farm deaths over the last 10 years and the third most common cause of death on a farm is drowning (14%), with open slurry pits particularly dangerous where children are present. These are the areas that our inspectors will be looking at first when they visit a farm. ”
The Irish Farmers Association is also concerned about the high accident rate in its sector. In January of this year President McAleese launched the IFA ‘Think Safety – Farm Safely’ campaign. IFA President John Bryan is hoping that farmers will see the benefits of good safety practice.
“I am appealing to farm families to review and strengthen their safety procedures following four fatalities in recent weeks. Ahead of the silage season and summer holidays, I would urge everybody – members of farm families, contractors, workers – to exercise caution when working with machinery and livestock. Increased awareness of health and safety through ongoing education and promotion is the most effective way of reducing farm accidents.”
Guidance and advice on all areas of farm safety is available from www.hsa.ie ; www.hsa.ie