The HSA has published its Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020.
Over the past ten years, more people died in agriculture compared with any other economic sector.
Work-related deaths in agriculture
According to the report, of the 495 work-related fatalities in Ireland during 2011-2020, 208 occurred in agriculture. 51% of the worker victims were 65 years or older; 21 of the victims were under 18.
The publication of the authority’s review coincided with the launch of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2021-2024.
Agriculture is a high-risk industry, where most are self-employed and predominantly work alone.
Workers are potentially exposed to many dangers, such as large animals, heavy machinery, and liquids such as slurry and gas-emitting materials.
Time of year
According to the data, work-related fatalities were more frequent in spring and summer, with the highest number in July (34, 16%).
The HSA said: “This pattern may be related to the intensity of farming activity during spring and summer.”
“Work-related fatalities involving children were most common during the summer months, particularly August (five, 24%) and July (four, 19%).”
According to the HSA’s review, work-related fatalities in agriculture were highest in the southwest region of Cork and Kerry (13.7 per 100,000 employed).
The border region of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, and Sligo (8.9 per 100,000 employed) followed.
Furthermore, work-related fatalities in agriculture were lowest in Dublin (0.2 per 100,000 employed) and the mid-east region of Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, and Louth (2.0 per 100,000 employed).
Make your farm a safer place
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon T.D, welcomed the review and issued a safety appeal to the farming community.
“We can see that almost half of all farm deaths involve tractors and other farm machinery.”
“As we move between seasons, now is an opportune time for farmers to carry out safety checks on machinery that will be in use in the coming weeks.”
“A risk assessment of the farmyard should also be completed. Is there appropriate lighting? Have slats been checked for wear or tear?”
“Taking simple steps now can help make farms a safer place over the winter. I would ask farmers to take time to consider safety. Review the farm safety guidance available to them on HSA.ie.”