Farm Ireland

Monday 21 January 2019

Medics warn over lack of mandatory training for farmers amid number of accidents

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

Medics at Cork University Hospital (CUH) have raised concerns about the lack of mandatory safety training for farmers.

The medics at the hospital's Emergency Department (ED) have raised their concerns after revealing that there were 54 patients admitted to CUH after major trauma caused by a farm accident between 2009 and 2013.

In their study, which appears in the January edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ, the medics record that there was one fatal injury - a farmer died after receiving a kick from a cow.

The medics also found that a two year old suffered a broken leg after being struck by a cow.

The medics found that the median age of those admitted was 56, 85pc were male and the median hospital length of stay was four days.

Leg breaks were the most common injuries sustained by the group accounting for 13 injuries.

Other injuries include hip fracture, blunt chest trauma, head injuries, arm breaks, spinal fractures, pelvis fractures, facial injuries and lacerations.

The medics found that July was the month most admissions were made and the busiest period also coinciding when cows can become pregnant and the 'bull is with the herd'.

The medics state that nine of the admissions were admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit with four sustaining head injuries.

The medics state that over one third of the farmers who suffered major trauma were over 65 years of age despite farming being the country's most dangerous industry where there were 138 deaths on farmers between 2009 and 2015. The medics state: "In most industries, these workers would be retired."

They state: "Older farmers stayed in hospital longer than their younger counterparts This compounds the economic impact on indies suffered - on both a personal level and on the sector."

The medics state that the lack of safety training standards for farmers should be examined in order to improve safety practices.

The medics state: "When we treat these injuries in hospital, the horse, cow or bull has bolted; lack of mandatory safety training is an oversight peculiar to the agriculture industry. This is an area which should be examined by governing bodies as a matter of urgency."

The medics state that from a public health perspective, it is vital that the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) continue and strengthen their efforts to raise awareness of the dangers facing Irish farmers...and try to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal injuries which occur on Irish farms each year. This is an area which should be examined by governing bodies as a matter of urgency."

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