2,000 farm inspections to take place this year
Some 2,000 farms face inspection by the Health and Safety Authority this year as part of its 2018 Programme for Work.
The Authority has set a target of 11,435 workplace inspections and investigations for 2018, including 4,000 in the construction sector, which will receive the highest number of inspections. There will be 2,000 inspections carried out in the agriculture sector and the Authority will participate in 50 ‘Farm Knowledge Transfer Groups’.
In 2017, out of a total of 47 workplace deaths, 24 farmers died in work related accidents, with 14 being aged 65 or older and the sector accounts for accounts for up to 50pc of work related deaths.
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 five-year period.
However, according to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys 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.