A conference in Dublin, organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee has heard that the number of fatal farm workplace injuries has already reached 16 this year, and is on its way to passing the twenty year high of 26 farm-related deaths in 2010.
Key speaker at the event, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, was told that the largest proportion of deaths on farms was due to accidents with machinery, but that other hazards – such as the handling of livestock and the prevention of falls – also had to be tackled.
The Minister replied by stating that “People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in many instances they are working on their own. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents”.
Mr Conveney continued by commenting “By continuously talking about and being aware of farm safety we can together bring about a change of culture and farmer thinking in this area”, and concluded his speech by saying “changing farmers´ attitudes is ultimately about self-regulation”.
The conference, which was hosted in Castleknock marked the first time that an international meeting on agricultural occupational health and safety had been held in Ireland, and speakers from the United States, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Great Britain were also in attendance.