HSA to carry out two-week blitz of farm inspections from today

Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) will begin a fortnight long intensive farm inspection campaign today.

Inspectors across the country will be visiting farms and ensuring that farmers are carrying out work at height safely. They will draw attention to information and guidance available from both the HSA and the HSENI.

Research shows farming on both sides of the border continues to be one of the most hazardous sectors to work in.

Approximately 6pc of the working population are involved in agriculture but the sector frequently accounts for up to 50pc of workplace deaths.

Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 21 people killed due to farm accidents in Ireland, two of which accounted for fatal falls.

In 2017, there were 31 farm fatalities, 25 in Republic of Ireland, 6 in Northern Ireland, with 4 due to falls, or falling objects, on farms.

“Most falls from height are fatal, it’s not worth taking a risk,” Senior Inspector for Agriculture safety with the HSA, Pat Griffin said.

“We are asking farmers to plan ahead and make sure that work at height is only carried out using the proper equipment and with protective measures in place. This can be done by carrying out a risk assessment that identifies all of the hazards especially when working to repair fragile roofs.”

“Sadly, falls from height are one of the main causes of tragic deaths on farms and it is essential that anyone working at height plans the work and uses the right equipment - for example using a mobile elevated work platform,” Senior Inspector with HSENI, Malcom Downey said.

During the campaign Inspectors will also highlight the dangers of falling objects such as round bales and other feed items. These items are sometimes stored at height and it is important that they are properly stacked and handled to avoid them falling and causing crush injuries.

The HSA will host its National Farm Safety Conference in the Dolmen Hotel, Co. Carlow, on October 26 with the aim of reviewing current approaches to safety, health and welfare in farming and improving health and safety within this important sector in challenging times.

Online Editors