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Friday 23 March 2018

Farming officially the deadliest job

Amputee farmer Peter Gohery talks to 'Ear to the Ground' presenter Ella McSweeney about farm safety
Amputee farmer Peter Gohery talks to 'Ear to the Ground' presenter Ella McSweeney about farm safety

Lynne Kelleher

FARMING is officially the most dangerous job in Ireland with more than one in three workplace deaths last year occurring in the farmyards.

There were 21 farm deaths on rural holdings all over the country in 2011, despite a decision by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to double the number of farm inspections in a bid to reduce the death toll.

Tractors and machinery are the biggest killers on farms, with 80 people losing their lives in accidents with farm vehicles between 2000 and 2009.

Farm animals caused 15pc of farm deaths, while drowning and gas-related deaths made up 14pc of the toll. Falls on farms caused 10pc of fatalities.

Although farmers make up just 6pc of the working population, they accounted for 39pc of workplace fatalities in 2011, according to the HSA.

The HSA has found that half of farm deaths every year involve elderly farmers.

Dairy farms were found to be the most treacherous as they account for 57pc of the deaths but only make up 17pc of the farms.

The HSA also pinpointed "risk-taking behaviour" of farmers as a big factor in the high death rate.

While the average figure of deaths for a worker in the country is two in every 100,000, the odds are greatly narrowed when it comes to the rural occupation with 15 in every 100,000 workplace deaths occurring in agriculture and forestry.

Transport workers have the next most hazardous occupation, with 14pc of all deaths, while construction workers account for 11pc of fatalities.

In RTE's 'Ear to the Ground' tonight, Galway farmer Peter Gohery tells how he barely escaped with his life in an accident on his family farm in October 2009. The accident amputated one leg, stripped a second to the bone, and broke two bones in his left arm.

'Ear to the Ground' airs tonight on RTE One at 8.30.

Irish Independent

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