Farm Safety Partnership launch action plan for 2021 - 2024
The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC), an advisory committee to the Board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), recently published its latest Action Plan for 2021-2024, which aims to reduce the level of fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector.
Pictured above at the recent launch of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2021-2024 are Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, along with Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon, Chairperson of the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee Ciaran Roche, and Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English.
The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC) is made up of representatives and experts from a variety of relevant agriculture organisations and is tasked with improving occupational health and safety in the sector.
The Farm Safety Action Plan for 2021-2024 aims to reduce the level of fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector.
Agriculture is a high-risk industry
Over the past decade, more people died in agriculture compared with any other economic sector. Of the 495 work-related fatalities in Ireland during 2011 -2020, 208 occurred in Agriculture, according to the Health and Safety Authority’s Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020. 51% of the worker-victims were aged 65 years or older, while 21 of the victims were aged under 18.
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.
Aim of the Farm Safety Action Plan
The aim of the new Farm Safety Action Plan is to reduce the level of fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector. The FSPAC has identified five critical areas for attention:
- Behaviour, Education and Training
- Health and Vulnerable Persons
- Tractor, High Risk Machinery
- Livestock Handling
- Buildings, Work at Height
Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020
According to the HSA’s Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020, work-related fatalities were more frequent in spring and summer, with the highest number happening in July (34, 16%). 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 of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020 report, work-related fatalities in Agriculture were highest in the south-west region of Cork and Kerry (13.7 per 100,000 employed), followed by the border region of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo (8.9 per 100,000 employed). The number of 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).
Watch the video from the recent launch of the Farm Safety Partnership's action plan for 2021-2024
Farm Safety Advice
The Health and Safety Authority has many free tools, courses and supports available, including free health and safety courses on HSALearning.ie and the farm risk assessment tool farmsafely.com.
View some advice on keeping safe on farms from the Teagasc Health & Safety Specialists here