More awareness of health promotion practices are needed among the farming community.
That was one of the key messages John McNamara, Francis Bligh, and MJ Kelly of Teagasc conveyed at its Beef Open Day in Grange earlier this week.
Farm safety was one of several subjects the state agency focused on at its national open day, which carried the theme of sustainable beef farming, on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022.
Attendees were told that farming is one of the most dangerous work sectors in Ireland.
According to official figures, about 20 workplace deaths occur in the agricultural sector each year.
HSA data shows that in 2020, 20 farm deaths occurred, accounting for 37% of all workplace deaths.
Last year, HSA records show the number of farm deaths in Ireland reduced to 10, with one in ‘forestry and logging’ and one due to farm construction.
In 2022, the authority has records of five deaths up to early June.
A spokesperson for the state agency said:
“Childhood deaths are particularly tragic, and, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the occurrence of these fatalities.”
“Farm accidents causing serious injury occur at a high level of 2,800 per year. Drystock farms account for 17% of total accidents.”
“An accident can lead to a permanent disability and interfere with a person’s capacity to farm effectively.”
Impacts and ill-health
Teagasc highlighted that farm accidents and ill-health can cause suffering, long-term disability and tragedy.
Crowds were told that accidents could jeopardise a person’s capacity to farm “effectively” and “jeopardise” farm income.
Furthermore, farmers, as an occupational group, have been identified as having high levels of preventable ill-health.
Attendees heard that ill-health impacts quality of life and a person’s capacity to farm effectively.
As a result, the state agency has urged farmers to “give more attention to their health”, including having regular GP medical check-ups.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to give practical safety and health management adequate attention,” the state agency stressed.
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‘Everyone gets out of the tractors and has lunch together for 30-40 minutes’