Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

HSA targets thousands of safety inspections on farms this year

This year there are a total of 11,220 workplace inspections and investigations planned.
This year there are a total of 11,220 workplace inspections and investigations planned.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The agriculture sector is set to receive special attention for safety inspections this year, the Heath and Safety Authority (HSA) has announced.

The Authority has today published its ‘Programme of Work for 2017’ providing details of planned actions, priorities and inspection targets for the year.

The reduction of workplace fatalities in all sectors remains a priority and the Authority will carry out a wide range of enforcement, prevention and support activity during 2017.

This year there are a total of 11,220 workplace inspections and investigations planned.

There will be 4,000 construction site inspections with a focus on preventing accidents involving self-employed workers and small sized contractors.

The HSA says the agriculture sector will also receive significant attention with 2,000 farm inspections planned. However, this is down from a target of 2,300 announced last year.

The Authority says there will be a continued emphasis on promoting safety on farms through participation in knowledge-sharing and discussion groups.

An updated Farm Safety Code of Practice will also be published.

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Irish farmers who break farm safety rules will risk losing their EU grants, Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has said recently.

Mr Hogan said he was reluctantly coming to this conclusion in the light of the large toll of deaths from farm accidents in 2016. He said the rate of serious workplace accidents was reducing in Ireland and across the EU – but no such progress was happening in farming where 21 Irish people were killed in 2016.

The Commissioner said progress was being made and two EU-backed schemes were, TAMS 2 and the Green Cert, were laying great emphasis on farm safety, especially for young farmers.

“But we have to do more in the light of the recent accidents and heart-breaking tragedies which have hit so many farm families in 2016,” Mr Hogan told the Irish Independent.

The EU Commissioner said farmers can already lose grant money if they breach pollution control rules or other issues like animal welfare.

He said it is time to consider including farm safety in the so-called “cross compliance” regime to help preserve human life.

The Health and Safety Authority (HAS) last week revealed that 21 people died in farm accidents in 2016. It was down from a record high of 30 fatalities in 2014 but an increase of the 2015 death toll of 18.

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