Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

International Men’s Health Week - Teagasc supports farmers’ health and safety

International Men’s Health Week - Teagasc supports farmers’ health and safety

Teagasc supports measures to assist farmers to gain and maintain their health through its national occupational health and safety programme. In particular, Teagasc supports International Men’s Health Week (MHW), which is taking place this week up to Father’s Day on Sunday next, 16 June.

Farmers have been identified as an occupational group with high premature mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, work injuries and mental health issues. Teagasc adopts the ‘Total Health Model’, where it promotes farmers’ health in association with farm safety. Health and safety interact with each other, as persons in poor health have more accidents and deterioration in health has been described as an accident in slow motion.

Farmers in 2024 have had an extremely tough year so far, due to high rainfall up until May and the consequences of that for farm management. Dr John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist, advises farmers that taking measures to actively maintain health is vital for farming and lifestyle. Now is a great time of the year to plan both health, safety and leisure activities for the coming months.

Health and safety events

Teagasc will hold two major, free of charge, health and safety events in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, 18 June at 9am at Teagasc Ashtown, Dublin 15, a seminar will be held entitled: ‘Towards a greater understanding of stress, wellbeing and suicide amongst farmers in Ireland’.

The International speaker will be Dr Hazel Dalton, Research Leader and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Australia, who will speak on ‘Understanding and Supporting Rural Community’s Mental Health Needs: An Australian Perspective’. The full programme and registration details for this event can be found here.

Health and safety exhibit at BEEF2024

On Wednesday, 26 June, Teagasc’ s major National Event ‘BEEF2024’ Open Day will take place from 9am to 4pm at Teagasc, Grange, Co. Meath. Eircode: C15 PW93. The event themed ‘Securing your future’ will address significant challenges in relation to farm succession, profitability, market disturbances, reducing the environmental footprint and high costs of production. Further information on BEEF2024 is available here.

A major Health and Safety Exhibit will take place at ‘BEEF2024’ on 26 June as part of a Farming Lifestyle Exhibit. This includes: 

  • A piece of drama focused on the causes and the consequences of a farm accident involving cattle will be held. Research in USA has shown drama helps to gain increased adoption of safety and health practices due to increased engagement of persons in the performance. 
  • A major exhibit related to managing safety during farm construction and working at heights will occur. Working at heights is the major cause of farm construction fatalities and also accounts for almost 50% of farm workplace deaths. A new edition of ‘Build in safety – an advisory booklet for farmers’ prepared by FBD Insurance in association with H.S.A. and Teagasc will be available. 
  • A demonstration of the safer use of ATVs in farming will be held. Information will be provided on compliance with the regulations related to ATV usage at workplace, which came into force during 2023.
  • Regarding cardiovascular disease, Dr Diana van Doorn, Teagasc Researcher, will describe strategies to promote heart health and stress reduction based on her recent PhD study. Irish Heart Foundation will be on hand to provide blood pressure checks and give follow-up advice.
  • To promote, cancer prevention and control, the Irish Cancer Society will be on-hand to give advice on cancer prevention. Particular attention will be paid to skin cancer prevention from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which is the most prevalent cause of cancer among outdoor workers including farmers. 
  • Sleep and Rest will be covered. Dr Anna Donnla O’Hagan of Dublin City University Farmer Mental Health Project will be on hand to describe strategies for gaining adequate sleep and avoiding burnout. A recent study has found that 50% of farmers suffer from sleep deprivation while 24% suffer burnout.
  • Teagasc/ Maynooth University PhD Researcher, Alex O’Reilly, will outline the finding of his research related to farmer wellbeing. Dr David Meredith, Teagasc Senior Researcher, will outline findings of an examination of suicide data for the farming community compared to other societal groups. A new leaflet ‘Sowing the Seeds of Support: Positive Mental Health Guidance for the Farming Community’, produced in association with Mental Health Ireland, will be launched at the Beef 2024 Open Day.
  • A range of organisations including Department of Agriculture, Health and Safety Authority, Agrikids, Embrace Farm, Mental Health Ireland and Samaritans will have exhibits at BEEF2024.

Mr Francis Bligh, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist and organiser of the Farm Health and Safety Exhibit at BEEF2024, stated that attending the exhibit is a great way to gain new knowledge and ideas to manage health and safety on your farm. Also by attending the event, you will receive the most up-to-date information on efficient beef farming from a profitability and sustainability perspective. Profitable farming supports having a satisfactory lifestyle and allows for funding of sustainable development.