SFP 'safety' fines now a possibility
Linking farm payments to an element of safety and health assessment should be considered in order to reduce accident levels on Irish farms.
The suggestion was made by Patrick Griffin, a senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
Speaking at a conference for health and safety specialists at Kildalton College, Co Kilkenny, last Tuesday, Mr Griffin said the various bodies charged with reducing farm accidents had "run out of carrots".
The HSA official pointed out that several options were open to the authority where farmers failed to comply with farm safety regulations.
These included on-the-spot fines, prosecutions or linking direct payments to an element of safety and health assessment.
"For example, 1pc of the Single Farm Payment could be withheld for non-compliance with safety standards," Mr Griffin said.
While he admitted the authorities had been slow to penalise farmers in the past, he said the high number of on-farm deaths this year meant a harder line may be needed.
Eleven people have been killed in farm accidents so far this year, compared to 11 for 2009 as a whole.