In 2013 there were 16 deaths in the agricultural industry 4 of which were children and 5 were people aged over 65.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are now going to increase the number of unannounced inspections on farms due to the increase in farm related accidents.
This year alone the number of farm accident deaths to date is 12 compared to 1 for the same period in 2013.
One of the biggest risk factors is that most farmers work alone. Farmers have been advised by the HSA to communicate often with Family, Workers and Contractors to make sure that tasks and safe guards are understood.
Farms are governed by the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Acts which require safe working practices and procedures, safe equipment and machinery, personal protective equipment where necessary and a safe place of work to include farm yards and outbuildings.
Speaking about the latest disturbing figures Liam Moloney, Solicitor said today “farmers are required by law to prepare a safety statement in writing and to consult with employees on its contents. Farmers must specify how these risks are to be controlled. The 2005 Health Safety, Health and Work Act allows farmers with 3 or less employees to comply with the terms of a code of practice as an alternative to paying for the costs of preparing a safety statement.”
He continued “in 2011 the HSA carried out 3000 farm inspections. I would urge farmers to undergo a risk assessment for their farm and these can be easily downloaded from the HSA’s website.”
Farm fatalities account for more than half of all workplace deaths to date this year even though agricultural workers make up less than 6% of the total workforce. Unfortunately the level of farm accidents is not decreasing and research has indicated that farmer’s attitudes to safety only change after serious accidents occur.