Agriculture has traditionally been a cornerstone of the Irish economy. Official figures indicate that there are up to 120,000 employed in this sector. When we include family members living on farms the numbers potentially exposed to safety risks in farming is approximately 500,000. The Agriculture sector has a very high risk profile and consistently has the highest fatality rate of any sector.
Fig 1 shows causes of Fatal Farm Accidents (2000-2009)
The figures listed are generally for agriculture but they do include a small number of fatal accidents in forestry and tree surgery operations.
Figure 2: Key Accident Statistics (2004-2010)
Click here to view graph of statistics
Health and Safety Authority figures show that the fatality rate in agriculture, in particular, is alarmingly high. The sector has a far higher fatality rate than any other major economic sector.
In the ten year period between 1998 and 2007, 15 fatalities per 100,000 workers was recorded, compared with two fatalities per 100,000 workers across all sectors.
The age profile of those killed is of serious concern. The old and the young are exceptionally vulnerable to death and injury on Irish farms.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, places a legal duty on employers to prepare and work to a safety statement, However, farmers with 3 or less employees will be able to fulfil their statutory duty under the 2005 Act simply by completing a Risk Assessment Document.
At the end of 2006, some 160,000 copies of the HSA Agriculture Code of Practice were dispatched to farmers. The Code of Practice consists of three documents:
1. Code of Practice for Preventing Injury and Occupational Ill Health in Agriculture
2. Risk Assessment Document
3. Safe System of Work Plan
Farm Safety on-line Risk Assessment System
This system allows farmers to complete their farm safety statements on-line in a user friendly fashion. By using this system farmers can keep their risk assessment statements up to date. www.farmsafely.com
– Farm Safety
– Agriculture Code of Practice
– All Terrain vehicles (ATVs) in Agriculture and Forestry Information Sheet
– COP Forestry Operations
– General Application Regulations 2007
– Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act
– The Children and Young Persons in Agriculture COP
There is financial assistance under the TAMS II schemes to upgrade animal handling facilities, electricity wiring etc. on the farm. Have a look at the items eligible for TAMS II funding before doing any upgrading work to see if you would be eligible for a grant as work started or equipment purchased before grant aid approval is issued will not be eligible for financial assistance. BUT DON’T LEAVE IT DANGEROUS WHILE WAITING FOR GRANT APPROVAL.