According to Teagasc, fatal farm accidents showed a reduction in 2018 with 17 deaths (provisional figure). This is five fewer than the average for the previous 5 years (22). No farm fatality was recorded in the final quarter of 2018.
53% (9) of fatalities in 2018 were associated with farm vehicles and machinery while a further 29% were associated with livestock. The remaining 18% of deaths were associated with a fall from height, slurry drowning and timber cutting.
59% of fatalities occurred to persons aged 65 years or older, with half occurring to persons aged 75 or older.
Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist, Dr. John McNamara called on farmers to give safety first priority during January and the busy spring period in 2019. He said that the risk of farm accidents rises with increased work activity and prevention is strongly associated with implementing behavioural practices.
“Being struck with a moving vehicle is the most frequent cause of farm deaths on Irish farms, so particular vigilance is needed when they are operating,” he stated.
“A vehicle moving at fast walking pace covers about 2 metres per second so it gives a person in its path little chance to avoid impact. Elderly farmers are at particular risk.
“Vigilance is also needed when handling livestock, particularly cows around calving. A freshly calved cow should be securely restrained before administering a treatment to their calf.
“When the slurry spreading season gets underway from January 13th, vigilance is required with this operation. Power shaft guards need to be in place, a windy day needs to be selected for slurry agitation and all slurry tank openings need to be guarded to prevent drowning,” he added.
The Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist also advised farmers to watch out for unstable loads around the farm including unstable stacks of hay or straw which could collapse and cause injury.
A newly revised legal Farm Safety Risk Assessment replaced the previous version from January 1st. Completion of the revised document is a requirement for Food Assurance schemes. Completion of a half-day training course on Risk Assessment, or completion of the Green Certificate within the last five years, is a mandatory requirement for TAMS11 grant drawdown.
Further information can be obtained from Teagasc offices or Agricultural Consultants.