FARMERS have been urged to take extra care after farming was again the country's deadliest job in 2012.
End-of-year figures from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) show that 47 people lost their lives in workplace accidents – 21 of them in the agriculture sector.
Irish Farmers Association president John Bryan used his New Year message to urge farmers to put farm safety at the top of their work agenda in 2013.
Overall, the number of workplace deaths in the Republic was down in 2012 compared with 2011 when 54 people were killed while at work. However, farming continues to account for the vast majority of deaths with half of these caused by tractors and machinery.
Farming was also the most lethal occupation in 2011 and regularly tops the tragic list.
In one of the most recent tragedies, Co Mayo farmer Garrett Howley (64) suffered fatal injuries when his quadbike overturned as he went to check on a pregnant heifer in the early hours of December 17 last.
There have also been a number of deaths after farmers fell into slurry pits. One of the more tragic incidents saw the deaths of three members of the same family – 22-year-old Ulster rugby player Nevin Spence, his brother Graham (30) and his father Noel (58). The men were overcome by poisonous slurry fumes on their farm in Hillsborough, Co Down, in September.
Meanwhile, seven fishermen also lost their lives last year – five of them in the Tit Bonhomme tragedy last January.
Skipper Michael Hayes (52) and his crew – Kevin Kershaw (21) and Egyptian nationals Wael Mohamad (32), Shaban Attia (26) and Saied aly Eldin (24) – all perished in stormy seas off Union Hall in west Cork. It took several weeks before all of the men's bodies were recovered from the sea.