Most work-related fatalities still occur in farming, where almost 50pc of PTO guards are not in place
New figures show that farming had the highest number of work-place fatalities in 2016 – accounting for 21 of the 45 work-related deaths last year.
Yet, farm inspections by the Health and Safety Authority (HAS) found that one of the most basic and critical farm machinery safety features, a power take off (PTO) guard is not in place in 46pc of cases.
According to the HSA inspections, the use of the Farm Safety Code of Practice was reviewed in 1,557 farm inspections and it said that the assessments indicated that relevant hazards were adequately recorded in 81pc of cases.
Part of the Farm Safety Code of Practice includes a number of references to PTO guards, including a checklist to ensure that the U-guard is in place to cover the PTO stub. Some 21 references to PTOs are made in the 36-page document.
Last year 21 people died on Irish farms and fatalities from machinery accounted for 50pc recent figures show and 80pc of farm deaths in the first five months of 2016 were machinery related.
According to data collected from the 2,151 farm inspections carried out by the HSA in 2016, 87pc of farms had a safe play area for children and 86pc addressed the involvement of elderly farmers in farming activity.
In addition, 69pc had safe facilities for calving, 65pc had safe slurry handling facilities, and tractor handbrakes were serviced in 71pc of cases. However, PTO guards were only in place in 54pc of cases.
Of the 304 farm inspections carried out during a campaign in April 2016, enforcement action was taken in 152 of these inspections.