Inspections rise to tackle spike in farm accidents
Up to 150 farms per week are being targeted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for unannounced inspections after a spike in farm accident related fatalities.
Six fatalities over a two week period between late April and mid May brought the number of farm accident deaths to 12 compared to one for the same period in 2013.
The HSA has confirmed that while the inspections' campaign is nationwide, there will be a special focus on counties such as Cork where there have been high farm accident rates in recent years.
The overall number of HSA farm safety inspections has doubled to nearly 3,000 a year since 2010.
A HSA spokesman said: "Farmers are very compliant and willing to make improvements when a risk is pointed out to them, but we are pleading with them to realise the effect that a fatality can have for them and their families and take more care to prevent it happening."
Eight of the 12 fatalities this year involved farm tractors and machinery.
The most recent fatality occurred last Friday when a farmer in his 80s from Convoy, Co Donegal was trampled by a cow.
It follows another horrific accident two weeks ago, when a 17-month old baby was crushed by a tractor on a farm at Killeagh in Co Cork.