Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

FBD refuses calls for 'safe' farmers to get discount

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The country's largest farm insurer will not offer discounts to farmers who complete safety training despite research showing that such courses can reduce the incidence of farm accidents.

As the number of farm fatalities continues to climb again this year, Teagasc research shows that farmers who attend 3.5-hour training courses are up to 70pc more likely to identify hazards around their farm.

But FBD, which dominates the farm insurance business with a market share of up to 80pc, has refused to offer discounts to farmers with completed risk-assessment forms or who have attended safety courses.

"We have no intention of offering farmers discounts for training or risk assessments that they are required to have legally anyway," said FBD's marketing director, Adrian Taheny.

"It would be like giving people discounts for having their car taxed.

"We put approximately €100,000 a year into farm safety programmes and we believe this is money well spent.

"If we tried to use that to give [safety] discounts to farmers, it wouldn't go very far. Who else is going to pay for these discounts?"

In contrast, Aviva insurance offers its farming customers up to 15pc off their insurance bills if the client can prove that they have implemented safe working practices on their farm.

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The HSA's senior inspector, Pat Griffen, claimed that FBD had refused repeated requests to incentivise farmers to participate in training courses.

"Training will be the key to reducing the level of farm accidents and deaths," said Mr Griffen.

"It worked in construction, and the research shows that it will work with farmers too."

Teagasc's safety expert John McNamara, who is presenting a series of findings at an international conference on agricultural health and safety being held in Dublin this week, said that less than 42pc of farmers he surveyed had completed a risk-assessment form, despite the fact that it is now a legal requirement for every farm.


Delegates attending the health and safety conference heard how agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries, with occupational diseases twice as frequent among agricultural workers compared with all other industries.

In EU member countries, agriculture has about six injuries per 100 workers a year, and about 12 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers.

According to US health and safety expert Professor Risto Rautiainen, more than 40pc of agricultural workers feel they work in a dangerous environment.

There were 16 fatal accidents on Irish farms in the first seven months of this year, according to the HSA. Last year, 22 people died in farm accidents.

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