Farmers need to get serious on safety - Creed

Agriculture need not be a dangerous occupation, according to Minister Creed
Agriculture need not be a dangerous occupation, according to Minister Creed

Martin Ryan

Farmers must take responsibility for safety standards on their holdings, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed,warned this week.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Farm Safety Week, the minister said agriculture need not be a dangerous occupation.

"Behavioural change is what is required to prevent many accidents. It is a case of being aware of the dangers and taking the time to do what is necessary to minimise the risk," Minister Creed insisted.

These sentiments were echoed by IFA president Joe Healy who urged farmers to examine general safety levels on their holdings and how they undertake routine tasks.

Farming continues to be the economy's most dangerous occupation, with on-farm accidents accounting for almost half of the 44 workplace deaths in 2016.

Fourteen people have lost their lives so far in 2017, sparking fears that this year could be as bad as 2014 when 30 people died on Irish farms.

"The statistics are stark but statistics don't give the whole story - they don't tell you about the devastating impact a farm fatality has on families and communities; they don't tell you the impact a farm accident can have on the rest of your life, on your ability to run the farm," Mr Healy said.

"Farm Safety Week is about confronting farmers with the realities behind the statistics, making them realise that they could, in fact, be the next statistic unless they take safety measures and change their work practices."

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Elderly farmers are to be targeted in a new campaign of awareness on farm safety, with two out of three farm deaths so far this year over the age of 65.

"We know it is going to be a real challenge and we are going to have to concentrate more on locations like the livestock marts where they socialise," said Ciaran Roche, who is FBD Insurance risk manager.

Farm Safety Week is supported by agencies, including the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and members of the Farm Safety Partnership.

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