The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) National Farm Safety Conference takes place today (October 26) at the Dolmen Hotel, Co Carlow.
The aim of the conference is to review current approaches to health and safety in this important sector, in challenging times. Accidents on farms cause more workplace deaths than all other occupations combined. Between 2008 and 2017, there were 210 fatal farm accidents, a shocking statistic. The greatest number of accidents involve tractors, machinery and livestock. The minister outlined; “We need to create an environment where safety is the top consideration for every farmer. Too many families in this country have had to suffer the unbearable grief caused by a loved one’s serious injury or fatality on farm. Avoiding injury or harm has to be at the forefront of considerations at all times while working on farms.” While there are many risks, farming does not have to be a dangerous occupation. Investment in farm safety is vital and should not been seen as an unproductive cost. In fact, investing in safety will provide for better working conditions and ensure that work can be done without risk of injury. Behavioural change is urgently required to minimise risk and prevent future accidents. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine works closely with the HSA and is actively involved in both the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee and the North-South Farm Safety Committee. The Department is investing in safety on farms through the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS II) and the inclusion of a farm safety module in the Knowledge Transfer scheme. The Minister concluded; “We all need to ensure that safety is an integral part of our farming culture and that all people working on our farms take personal responsibility for encouraging a culture of safety. We must all work together with the single goal of preventing accidents and therefore saving lives and minimising serious injuries.”