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Fatal Farm Incidents in Ireland 2008 – 2021

Fatal Farm Incidents in Ireland 2008 – 2021

As farm safety week draws to a close today, Teagasc Staff Dr David Meredith, Rural Economy Development Programme (REDP), Dr John McNamara, Health & Safety Specialist and Dr Mohammad Mohammadrezaei, REDP, show us the statistics on Fatal Farm Incidents in Ireland 2008 – 2021 to raise safety awareness

View Farm Fatal Incidents in Ireland 2008 - 2021 poster as a PDF


Teagasc, in partnership with 3rd level research institutions in Ireland and internationally, lead research designed to enhance understanding and awareness of farm safety and farmer health challenges. Working with farmers, advisors, policy stakeholders and regulators, we apply this knowledge to develop practical initiatives and interventions that are focused on improving safety, reducing incidents and preventing fatalities. The basis of this work rests in understanding the main causes of fatalities and who is being killed on farms. We summarise this work in three graphs that are presented below. These cover changes in the number of fatalities over time, changes in the demographic profile (age) of those being killed, and the cause of fatalities by age group.

Key Messages

  • The number of fatalities is declining but there are still too many.
  • Recent declines in the average number of fatalities cannot be taken for granted.
  • Sustaining and building on current efforts is critical to further reducing fatalities.
  • Older farm workers are more likely to be killed on farms.
  • Roughly 70% of all fatalities are caused by incidents involving either tractors, livestock or farm machinery.


Change in the average number of fatalities: 1993 - 2021

  • The number of farm fatalities varies substantially from year to year, i.e. it is not unusual to find very substantial differences between one year and the next. To overcome this, we calculate the average number of fatalities for three year periods, e.g. 2004 – 2006, 2005 – 2007 and so on. This provides us with an indication of the underlying trend in fatalities.
  • The first graph shows that there was a substantial increase in the average number of fatalities from 2004 – 2017. The number has since declined to levels recorded in the 2004 – 2006 period.
  • When we look at the trend over a longer time period, from 1993, we find that there have been similar trends in the past. 
  • This analysis highlights that the positive trend that we observe in recent years needs to be sustained through continue efforts to reduce fatalities.

Change in the average number of deaths per age group: 2004 – 2018

  • The analysis of the changes in the number of fatal incidents on farms showed that they increased between 2004 and 2015 before beginning to decline.
  • Analysis of the changing age profile of those killed on farms shows that the increase was driven by increases in the number over 40 years of age being killed from 2007 – 2016.
  • Though there has been a decline in the total number of fatalities in recent years, older workers are more likely to be killed, i.e. the average number of workers killed at work who over 55 years of age is increasing.
  • In recent years we have seen declines in the number of all other workers being killed.

Cause of death per age group (2004 – 2018)

  • The primary causes of fatalities for all age groups on farms include tractors, livestock and machinery.
  • Younger people are more likely to be killed by tractors and machinery.
  • Older workers are more likely to be killed by tractors and livestock. 

#FarmSafetyWeek runs from July 18th - 22nd. Check out Teagasc Daily all this week for further updates

Learn more about Farm Health & Safety from Teagasc