Jim Dockery of FRS with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Farming continues to be the most hazardous occupation in Ireland, consistently reporting the highest number of fatalities in comparison to all the other sectors over the last number of years.
The Annual National Conference on Farm Safety and Health took place in the Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis, County Clare.
The conference welcomed many speakers whom all spoke about the current crisis surrounding farm safety and farming fatalities.
Farming plays an important role in Irish life and is a main component in our economy too. So far, in 2017, 21 people have been killed due to farming accidents.
Forty-four people were killed in workplaces in 2016, a 21 per cent reduction of the 56 reported in 2015, according to figures released by the Health and Safety Authority
The number of deaths on farms, however, increased with 21 reported in 2016 compared to 18 in 2015.
In June of 2017, the level of farm deaths was almost twice that of 2015 and 2016 levels
It is evident that the crisis is only getting worse.
At the conference, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen said that every effortmust be made to ensure that workplace deaths in the farming industry are reduced.
“Throughout this year, I have engaged with stakeholders involved in farming on this issue to find solutions this crisis. Progress is being made, information and training is out there but we need to change the mindset and culture and ensure that safety is a priority for farmers and their families,” he said.
Deputy Breen repeated his call for farmers to stay safe, think about your actions, consider your work practices.
“The toll on the community and on farming families is simply too high,” he said.
The conference discussed many actions including:
n the board of the Health and Safety Authority is putting plans in place to develop new strategies surrounding farm safety.
n there is a an increased risk of cow attacks especially around calving time. Some modern designs for calving pens where farmers and vets are physically protected were outlined.
n considerable funding is available from farm safety improvements through the DAFM Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMSII).
n human behaviour is associated with up to 90 per cent of accidents. The aim of half-day training on the revised HSA code of Practice Risk Assessment document is to assist farmers with the completion of it and to provide motivation to implement safety controls.
n all farmers must complete the new revised Risk Assessment document by the end of 2018 and implement improvements.
The main focus of the conference was that there was, indeed, a crisis, solving the crisis won’t happen overnight, but time needed to be set aside to come up with solutions to turn the problem around.
FRS Training are avid supporters of farm safety and run many safety courses throughout Ireland. For more information or to view our safety courses visit our website on www.frstraining.com or call 1890 201 000.