New action plan looks to save lives on Irish farms

Seven people have lost their lives so far this year

Farming, safety, action plan, HSA, Farm Safety Partnership, Pat Breen, Jim Phelan

Tractors at work saving silage on a farm in Co Kildare | File photo | Image:

A three year action plan has been published, which hopes to save lives on Irish farms.

 The Farm Safety Partnership, an advisory committee of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), has published the document, which runs to 2018.

It lays out specific actions and priorities for tackling high rates of illness, injury and death on farms.

Farming continues to be the most dangerous sector to work in, with annual fatalities in recent years as high as 50% of the overall total.

While the sector employs just 6% of the workforce.

 So far this year seven people have lost their lives in work-related accidents on farms.

 Over the five year period between 2011 and 2015, 106 people were killed on farms and many thousands more injured.

 Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen, said: "It is appropriate that this action plan has been developed with input from a wide range of key farming stakeholders."

 "We must encourage all farmers to prioritise safety and health on their farms."

 "There is no task so urgent or important to justify risking death or serious injury."

 "The vast majority of accidents on farms are preventable and levels of awareness within farming communities are high."

 "The key now is for farmers to put safety at the centre of their activities and take just a few minutes each day to think about what they’re doing," he added.

 While chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership, Jim Phelan, added: "Certain hazards are still causing the majority of fatal and serious injury. In particular, working with machinery and livestock must be carried out with greater care."

 "Make sure the tractor is in perfect working order, that the PTO guard is in place, get the handbrake fixed, be alert for signs of aggressiveness in livestock, stay off fragile roofs - simple steps like these will save lives and prevent serious injuries".