'Far too many of our older and younger generations are being killed by tractors'

“This one simple thing could save a life on your farm today”

Of the 61 people who died in tractor deaths in the last decade, 28 were aged 65 or over. .
Of the 61 people who died in tractor deaths in the last decade, 28 were aged 65 or over. .

Serious concerns have been expressed at the age profile of farm accident fatalities involving tractors by HSA Chief Executive Dr Sharon McGuinness.

Farming continues to be the most dangerous job in Ireland with tractors representing the biggest threat to life.

With the summer harvesting season well underway, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is warning farmers that children and the elderly are in the gravest danger.

The Authority has joined forces with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána to reissue a safety advice leaflet to farmers at the annual agricultural event in Offaly.

While farms are homes as well as workplaces, the HSA is highlighting the risks on the farm, particularly for elderly people and children. Of the 61 people who died in tractor deaths in the last decade, 28 were aged 65 or over.

In the same period, from 2009 to 2018, six children were killed in tractor incidents.

 So far, five people have died this year in tractor or vehicle related farm deaths, with the majority aged over 65.

“Far too many of our older and younger generations are being killed by tractors.

“As farmers age, chances multiply that they will be killed or seriously injured while working as physical tasks become tougher than they used to be.

“Measures should also be taken to ensure children do not play on or near tractors, where the driver may not see them in a blind spot.

“The message has generally got through about the dangers of PTOs but now we need to get the message across about how lethal tractors can be,” Dr McGuinness said

As the fatality rate in agriculture is far higher than any other economic sector, she urged all drivers to read the Essential Tractor Safety Checks leaflet before setting foot on their tractor.

“For the sake of a few minutes, I would appeal to farmers to put this leaflet near their vehicle and to carry out this simple checklist before starting their engines - it could save a life on your farm today.”

The safety leaflet from the HSA, the RSA and An Garda Síochána provides practical advice on how to reduce risk with tractors, including:

  • Use the flashing amber beacon at all times in accordance with new lighting and visibility laws
  • Keep tractor windows and mirrors clean to allow an unobscured view
  • Keep tractors in good serviceable and road worthy condition
  • Keep steering systems and all brakes working correctly
  • Apply the handbrake before leaving the cab, remove key from engine and dismount facing the tractor

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