Safety experts issue winter farm warning
Fatality rate in farming 'absolutely horrendous' says HSA boss
Farm fatalities will rise this winter unless farmers heed safety campaigns, a leading safety expert has warned.
"I hope we won't reach 2014 levels (30 deaths) but with still two months to go we already have 22 deaths - there's people in intensive care after accidents as well," said HSA chief inspector Pat Griffin.
While farm accidents have traditionally peaked in the summer, Teagasc's heath and safety advisor John McNamara said that farmers need to take extra care during the winter as they are vulnerable to accidents at any time.
"There was a time when accidents used to rise in June and fall in winter but that has gone. Accidents can peak at any time of year.
"Last year there was a high trend in December and certainly as the work increases in January people get busier and rush more," he said.
Mr McNamara warned that the farming sector needs to aim for a "zero vision" in order to reduce farm deaths.
Mr McNamara pointed to rising fatality figures in some European countries that had previously reached zero fatalities on farms.