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National conference indicates that farm injuries have risen by 35% in the last 5 years

New data presented at the national farm safety conference in Ballincollig, Cork today (Thursday 21st June) shows that injuries on farms have risen by 35% in the last 5 years. The conference was presented with data from a ‘national farm survey of farm injuries’ conducted by Teagasc.

One of the main findings of the survey is that farm family members suffer almost 90% of farm injuries.

Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, who opened the conference, called on everyone involved in Agriculture to make safety an integral part of farming, “Farm injuries have risen over the last five years and we should all be concerned about the rate of death and injury on farms. In order to reverse this trend all of the state agencies and representative bodies will continue to work together, through the Farm Safety Partnership, to influence farmers to make safety a core part of every farmer’s working day.”

Martin O’Halloran, Health and Safety Authority, Chief Executive, told the conference that the Authority is looking for sustained improvements in farm safety, “There have been some periods of improvement but unfortunately when we record a low fatal accident rate one year, it is usually followed by a high accident rate the next. I believe that farmers are willing to make improvements, however the key to success is maintaining a safe farm by planning for safety every day. I would ask farmers to use the resources available to them, don’t wait for an inspection or an accident to happen, farm safely today and every day.”

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, who addressed the conference, stated that the new data on injury levels on farms must give the industry a ‘wake- up call’, “As the industry approaches a major expansionary phase due to global demand for food.  The clear message is that safety management on the farm must keep pace with farm developments or expansion to prevent injury. I would appeal to farmers to make the utmost use of the health and safety and farm development services available to farmers.”  

The survey revealed that the farm operator/owner is the accident victim in 73.3% of cases, farm workers (8.9%), spouses (8.6%), family members (7.5%) and others (1.7%).

Trips, falls and blows, accounted for 42% of injuries, followed by livestock-related injuries (33%), vehicles and machinery (11%), chainsaws (3%) and other (8%).

The predominant injury location is the farmyard where 71.5% of injuries took place, followed by farm buildings (18.7%) and fields (9.8%).

The conference is organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc and the Farm Safety Partnership and sponsored by FBD Trust.