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European Farm Safety Initiative

Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority are involved in leading a European Initiative aimed at improving farm health and safety. This Initiative is the EU COST Action SACURIMA.

European Farm Safety Initiative
Ms Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and Mr Kevin Keary, Cabinet Member, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, recently met members of EU COST Action SACURIMA to discuss approaches to improve EU farmer health and safety. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel centre with L to R: Professor. Risto Rautiainen (Action Chair), Finland; Mr Kevin Keary, EU Commission; Anne Marie Heiberg, Norway; Petya Stavreva, Bulgaria; Helle Birk Domino, Denmark; José Rato Nunes, Portugal; Pat Griffin, H.S.A. Ireland and Dr John McNamara, Teagasc (Action Vice Chair).

This Initiative is the EU COST Action SACURIMA.

COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level covering pre-competitive research and activities of public utility.

An ‘Action’ is a specific project funded by COST for a 4-year period including SACURIMA. This acronym stands for Safety Culture and Risk Management in Agriculture and is the first EU Cost Action of its kind to look into occupational safety and health (OSH) in the agriculture sector. 

The SACURIMA network currently has 66 scientists participating from 32 EU COST Action affiliated countries and 4 Near Neighbour and International Partner countries. 

Dr John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist and the Vice Chair of EU COST Action SACURIMA, while Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector, H.S.A. is Communications Manager for the Action.

The Action commenced its 4 year project in Ireland in 2017 and recently presented its interim findings to EU Officials and Farmer Organisation representatives.

The representatives met included EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for ‘Innovation and Youth; a representative of Mairead McGuinness, First Vice President of the European Parliament and member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development;  Daniel Buda MEP, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and representatives of EU Farmer body   COPA*COGECA.

The SACURIMA Cost Action, in its submission called for the following measures based on the fatal and non-fatal injury levels, the level of ill-health, stress and suicidality in agriculture across Europe.

  1. Integrate OSH into current and future CAP agricultural policies
  2. Establish a European Network for agriculture safety and health 
  3. Allocate specific funding for Agriculture OSH research in Horizon 2020/ Horizon Europe
  4. Develop and implement OSH education and skills programmes for farmers and workers in the agriculture sector
  5. Improve statistics to reflect the true level of agricultural workplace fatal & non-fatal injury and ill health.

Pat Griffin H.S.A. stated that an Irish produced DVD showing the appalling consequences of farm injuries and ill health made a strong impact on all persons met by the SACURIMA delegation. ‘This brought home strongly the realisation of the consequences of farm injuries and ill health’ he stated.  

Irish Fatal Farm Accident trends in 2019.

Regarding current trends in fatal farm accidents to date in 2019 in Ireland, 16 farm deaths have occurred (provisional H.S.A. data on 16th Dec.).  Ten victims were over 60 years of age with 7 of these over 70 years old.  The fatal accidents were associated with livestock (6); vehicles/ machinery (5); being crushed or a collapsing object (3) and drowning (2).

Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist Dr John McNamara said that farmers should give their safety and that of their families and workers top priority over the winter period.  ‘Particular attention needs to be given to the safety of older farmers when working near machinery or livestock’ he said.

All EU COST Action SACURIMA materials and DVD’s can be sourced at: https://www.sacurima.eu/

View DVD at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xuyu_e4SWE