Farming

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Farming

Safety inspectors plan fortnight-long blitz to cut number of deaths on farms

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is to increase the number of farm safety visits in the next two weeks as part of a new campaign on farm safety.

The IFA and the HSA have joined forces to highlight the dangers of working on farms in Farm Safety Fortnight, which was launched yesterday.

For the past three years, more than 20 people have died as a result of farm accidents, with many more seriously injured.

"The agriculture sector is by far the most dangerous sector in Ireland in which to work," said Mark Ryan of the HSA.

"This is a shocking statistic in any circumstances, but even more so when one considers that the farming sector accounts for just 6-7pc of the total workforce," he added.

The main cause of death and serious injury on farms are accidents involving tractors and machinery but other areas of concern are open slurry pits, working at height, child safety and livestock handling.

Inspectors will be checking that all tractors and machinery are properly maintained and particularly that PTO shafts are properly guarded.

The Farm Safety Code of Practice and the online risk assessment tool (www.farmsafely.com) are free resources available to farmers from the HSA.

The organisation has also compiled a DVD of video clips suitable for web broadcast that focus on elderly farmers.

Elderly farmers (over 60) consistently account for over 50pc of farm deaths.

"These are all associated with reduced speed of movement or agility which suggests that elderly farmers don't appreciate their reduced capacity," said Mr Ryan.

"Farmers are being killed and seriously injured on a daily basis. The consequences can be devastating."

Irish Independent