Reduction in safety inspections on farms 'planned strategy' says Minister
Surge in farm safety inspections has not reduced high death rates
The significant reduction in the numbers of farm safety inspections is part of a planned strategy, according to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys.
The agriculture sector, which represents 5pc to 6pc of the workforce, often accounts for up to 50pc of work related deaths.
In 2017, out of a total of 47 workplace deaths, 24 farmers died in work related accidents, with 14 being aged 65 or older.
The planned target of farm inspections was significantly increased in 2010 from 1,500 per year to 3,000 and its impact assessed over the following 5 year period.
However, according to the Minister the increased level of inspection showed no significant reduction in farm deaths.
She said since 2014 the HSA has redirected some of its inspection resources toward engaging directly with farmers on other accident prevention initiatives.
“Research has shown that farmers working in peer to peer groups, such as Knowledge Transfer Groups take on new information, new procedures, and new technology more easily and make more lasting changes in the way they farm when involved with such groups.
“The objective is to bring about sustainable changes to work practices and controlling risk.