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Older Farmers

Farm Safety for Older Farmers

Sadly in 2019 twelve farmers over 65 years lost their lives due to farm accidents. This represents 66% of the total number of fatalities. Getting older impacts on a person’s ability to undertake tasks in the same way as when they were younger. Farm safety specialists Francis Bligh and John Mc Namara have some relevant advice

Tractors, machinery, livestock or falls from height were the main causes of farm accidents in older farmers. Getting older can affect a person’s mobility, eyesight balance and reaction time. It is important that these changes are recognised and farmers take account of their changing abilities.

Some important safety tips

  • Assess dangers before carrying out hazardous work, particularly involving tractors, machinery, livestock or working at heights.
  • Properly maintained machinery will significantly reduce the risk.
  • Always ask the question before each job.
    • Can I carry out this job safely.
    • Do I need better facilities
    • Do I need to get help for specific jobs.
    • Do I need to change my farming system (less calving cows to more drystock cattle) to help reduce the physical demands associated with calving cows.
  • Use your phone to keep in touch. Always carry a mobile phone when farming and inform someone about where you are going and when you expect to be back.


  • Older, Wiser, Safer

    In recent years someone has died every two weeks in an accident on an Irish farm. Tragically, over half of these deaths involve a farmer over 60 years of age. In this video, farming journalist and Ear to the Ground presenter Darragh McCullough talks about how farming has changed in the last 50 years

  • Older, Wiser, Safer - Health

    Darragh McCullough talks to farmer Gerry Maguire about how changes in your health can affect your work on the farm.

  • Older, Wiser, Safer - tractors and machinery

    Farmer Alan Gillis talks to Darragh McCullough about how to protect yourself from the dangers of working with tractors and machinery.

  • Older, Wiser, Safer: - Livestock

    Farmer Gerry Maguire talks to Darragh McCullough about the dangers of working with livestock and offers some simple steps to help make livestock work safer.

  • Older, Wiser, Safer: - Falls from Height and Slurry

    Darragh McCullough talks to farmer Alan Gillis about some of the steps you can take to help prevent a fall from height or a slurry gas or drowning accident.

  • Older, Wiser, Safer: Conclusion

    Ear to the Ground presenter Darragh McCullough talks to farmers Gerry Maguire and Alan Gillis about the positive impact older farmers can have on changing mindsets around farm safety.