Tractor handbrake problems a factor in one in five farm fatalities
Risk factors at 'frightening' levels warns FBD survey
There are thousands of near misses in relation to serious injuries and fatalities every year on farms, a leading insurance risk assessor has warned.
The risk factors on Irish farms are described as "frightening", with the sector predicted to hit another "peak" on fatalities this year.
The survey, undertaken by FBD insurance, is the largest ever of its kind in this country and has involved 20,000 farmers over the past two years.
It identifies a problem with handbrakes in tractors as a factor in one in five fatal farm accidents. "When we looked at recent statistics, we found that 20pc of fatal farm accidents had occurred because the handbrake on a tractor was not applied or not working properly," warned FBD Insurance risk manager Kieran Roche.
He added: "We don't know how many farmers are involved in near misses every week, but it is likely to be several thousand each year.
"It is a frightening statistic that based on the total number of farms in the country, the current trend shows a ratio of 72:1 risk over a lifetime of being fatally injured in a farm accident."
The survey data suggests that Irish dairy farms are the most dangerous workplace in the EU, with one in every 17 full-time dairy farmers now believed to be at risk of a serious accident.
"We now know that 57pc of all fatal accidents are now occurring on dairy farms and that is a very worrying trend as the sector expands in scale," he warned.