There was 113 farm accidents recorded on Irish farms in 2021, a figure which is likely to be much higher as many farm accidents are not reported.

Minister of state Damien English said there is "significant under-reporting" of non-fatal work-related incidents in agriculture, as most are self-employed sole traders.

English added that the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) maintains a strong focus on specific high-risk areas, such as agriculture, through inspection and enforcement, ongoing partnerships and through education and awareness-raising campaigns.

In August 2021, the HSA published its Farm Safety Action Plan 2021–2024.

The aim of the new plan is to reduce fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector.

The five critical areas that have been identified for attention include:

  • Behaviour, education and training.
  • Health and vulnerable persons.
  • Tractors and high risk machinery.
  • Livestock handling and buildings.
  • Working at a height.
  • In line with this, the HSA will begin a two-week intensive farm safety inspection campaign on Monday 24 January.

    The campaign will focus on how best to deal with livestock, in particular the safe management of livestock during calving season when the risk of injury to farmers increases significantly.

    Key questions to ask while working with livestock:

  • Is there a plan in place to minimise the risk of attack?
  • Has an adequate physical barrier been established between the farmer and the freshly-calved cow when tagging, treating and handling calves?
  • Is there adequate lighting in the yard and farm buildings?
  • Do you need help? Are the extra resources trained and experienced?
  • Are facilities and procedures adequate for loading and unloading animals?
  • Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the HSA, said that early planning and preparation can make a significant difference in the safe management of livestock and can help prevent injury or even death.

    "Good calving facilities and holding areas where cows can be monitored remotely are important and can help reduce farmer fatigue. Well-prepared calving units with clean bedding, calving gates and the necessary equipment will ensure safety and reduce stress both on farmers and on the animal," he added.


    According to the HSA, over the last 10 years 196 people have lost their lives in farming-related work activity in Ireland.

    However, the number of work-place farming-related fatalities declined by over 50% in 2021 compared with the previous 12 months, but the sector still remains one of the most dangerous sectors in which to work in Ireland.

    In 2021, nine people died in farm accidents, compared to a total of 20 in 2020.