'Pressures on farmers are enormous' - Inspector says there's no point in farmers expanding if they can't do so safely
Overall workplace fatalities are declining but farming is the stark exception to the trend
Over the last 10 years machinery and tractor accidents have accounted for 48pc of deaths - that's 95 out of 197 deaths - in agriculture in the last decade.
In the last three years alone there have been 36 farm fatalities involving machinery and tractors.
"When things get really bad in agriculture, you can see that it's machinery and tractors that are killing people," said Pat Griffin, Chief Inspector of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) at the recent Teagasc farm safety day in Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Mr Griffin said that the increased number of fatalities involving machinery may be as a result of expansion in farming, but that there's no point in expanding our farms if we can't compete safely.
"Farming now is a huge business across the world. The question is can Irish agriculture compete and can it compete safely? There's no point in competing in agriculture if it's to the loss of your leg, your arm or your loved one.
"Farm gate output has increased to €11.5bn a year, so we're working harder, producing more and the difficulties that farmers face are enormous," he said.
"The fatal accident rate in Ireland as a whole has gone down. We've saved over 500 lives in the last 25 years but unfortunately, agriculture is going the other direction and it may be a consequence of all the extra output and work."
"I think some of it is connected to dairy expansion and maybe the fodder crisis that happened, but we have to stop that upward trend," he said.