Deaths in Northern Ireland farming sector increased to eight last year

Four of the deaths were caused by animals and two involved machinery, the Health and Safety Executive said.

Figures have revealed that wight people died in agriculture fatalities in 2018 (PA)
Figures have revealed that wight people died in agriculture fatalities in 2018 (PA)

Rebecca Black

Eight people died in agricultural incidents in Northern Ireland last year.

The Health and Safety Executive said four of the deaths were caused by animals, two were connected with machinery, one involved a fall, and the cause of the final death was described as “other”.

The number of deaths in 2018 was an increase from seven in 2017 but well down from 2011 and 2012 when 12 fatalities were recorded each year.

The figures were released as part of this year’s Farm Safety Week, which urges farmers to use best practice in their workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) expressed concern at the number of non-fatal injuries, saying it believes there is a significant degree of under reporting.

A 2015 survey of farmers in Northern Ireland suggested there could be as many as 100 incidents per month on farms which require hospital treatment.

All too often accidents happen on our farms which are preventable, so we want to continue to raise awareness for everyone working on, or visiting, a working farm Malcolm Downey, HSENI

Malcolm Downey, principal inspector at the HSENI, said: “Farming and food production play a crucial role in the life and economy of Northern Ireland.

“But every year we have to reluctantly report that agriculture has the poorest safety record of any occupation here.

“All too often accidents happen on our farms which are preventable, so we want to continue to raise awareness for everyone working on, or visiting, a working farm.

“HSENI is committed to work with our partners on the NI Farm Safety Partnership and the Farm Safety Foundation on initiatives like Farm Safety Week to inform their activities and drive forward improvements in safety performance.

“We know that we need to engage with farmers of all ages to tackle this poor safety record and make farms safer places to work.”

For more information on Farm Safety Week, visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook.

PA Media