Ireland has one of the highest rates of hospital in-patient admissions from farm accidents
Dr Matthew Lee says state agencies and farm organisations need to develop new approaches to tackling the scourge of farm accidents
A co-ordinated 'bottom up' approach to farm accidents has been demanded in the wake of the latest national survey into the issue.
The research carried out by trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Matthew Lee, and published in the Irish Medical Journal, found that Ireland has one of the highest rates of hospital in-patient admissions due to farm accidents in Europe.
There were 2,087 in-patient admissions as a result of farm accidents in the 10 years from 2005 to 2014 - 187 of these were fatal.
Farmer accident admissions stabilised in some years under review and in some years declined but Dr Lee's study stresses that this slight fall in numbers should be matched against the decline in numbers actually farming in Ireland.
Dr Lee told the Farming Independent that attitudes to farm accidents in the general public, and the farming community in particular, will have to change if real improvements are to be made.
He said a "proactive and bottom-up culture" would have to be developed within the sector by both state agencies and farmers alike if the problem of farm accidents was to be addressed.
He said all public advertising campaigns should target farmers over 55 years of age, and farm family members under 17, who are especially at risk.
"There needs to be a bottom-up approach and cultural change to the way we view these accidents. The penetration of farm safety advertising campaigns remains a challenge," said Dr Lee.