Farming “remains the sector with the highest number of fatalities”, a spokesperson for the Health and Safety Authority has confirmed.
According to provisional annual statistics from the safety watchdog, the sector saw 12 fatalities recorded in 2022, compared to 10 the previous year, which represents half (50%) the total of all workplace fatalities (26) last year.
The HSA stated that of the fatal farm workplace accidents confirmed to date in 2022,
- 59% (7) were to persons aged 65 or older;
- 33% (4) were among persons aged 55 to 64 years;
- 8% (1) was in the 45 to 54-years-old category.
Major causes associated with farm workplace fatalities to-date in 2022:
- Farm vehicles and machinery 59% (7);
- Falls from heights and falling objects 33% (4);
- Slurry drowning 8% (1).
Fatal farm workplace accidents were reported for 11 counties in 2022.
Occupation is now used for classification of workplace fatal accidents and one fatality occurred at an off-farm workplace.
The HSA, has, however, outlined that “there are ongoing investigations that may see the reported/recorded number of fatalities increases”.
Farm safety advice
Following the publication of the above data from the HSA, John McNamara, health, and safety specialist, Teagasc, has urged all farmers to review farm safety practices on their farms this January, to ensure a safe working environment for farm families in 2023.
He then went on to share the following farm safety advice:
- Moving vehicles such as tractors, teleporters and ATVs pose a high risk to persons in close vicinity of them;
- Use operating techniques to keep farm vehicles under control at all times;
- Park vehicles safely and particularly ensure that they cannot roll forwards or backwards;
- Take precautions when accessing heights such as hay or straw stacks or roofs;
- Particular attention needs to be paid to the safety of ‘senior’ farmers. Family members can greatly assist such persons by discussing practical risk assessment;
- Watch out for insecure loads at heights which can fall and kill
- Over the winter months, darkness increases risk;
- Complete or update your Risk Assessment Document at the start of 2023 and implement any actions necessary health and safety on your farm;
- Ensure that slurry and water tanks are securely fenced.
Previously, Minister Martin Heydon stated that safer farming must be “central” to plans for the year ahead.
So far in 2023, the HSA has confirmed one incident on agricultural premises near Gort in Co Galway, as reported by That’s Farming.