Stress and fatigue are factors in farm safety crisis
Stress from perceived over regulation and paper-work is an important contributor to the unacceptably high incidence of accidents, according to a study commissioned by the HSA.
Researchers found that the influence of "excessive fatigue, poor lighting and weather were greater than anticipated."
They were also surprised by the "importance farmers place in having the right tool for the job as an influencer on safety performance".
The research, carried out by GL Noble Denton, also confirmed that farmers are keen to improve the safety record on their holdings and that there was a "strong intention to work safely" among farmers.
The study reported that some of the reasons for the high accident rate among farmers may be contributed to by excessive self-confidence, an optimistic bias, and feeling of immunity to accident or injury.
The HSA believe that the challenge to bring the accident rate down on farms will be heightened by the expected expansion on Irish farms in the coming years following quota abolition, which is likely to result in increases in stock numbers and associated work activity.
Martin O'Halloran, CEO, HSA told the Oireachtas Joint Committee On Agriculture, Food and Marine that there was a significant risk that the Irish agri-food sector could have its 'clean, green' brand image tarnished by the "catastrophic" fatality rate.
He said that this could, in turn, restrict the growth in the sector.