2021 must be the year farmers put their own safety first, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon has said, following the significant number of fatalities on Irish farms in 2020.
There were 19 fatal incidents on farms in 2020.
Three of these were children under the age of 18 and nine were farmers aged 65 or more.
It follows 25 fatalities in 2017, 15 in 2018 and 19 in 2019.
“The level of safety incidents, many of them fatal, we are seeing on farms across the country is unacceptably high,” Minister Heydon, who has a special responsibility for farm safety, said.
“Farming accounts for nearly 50% of all workplace fatal incidents, despite accounting for only 6% of the workforce.
"That’s why today I am appealing to everyone, as they wish farmers a happy new year, to also take the time to ask them to be safe on their farm in 2021.”
The Minister highlighted that 214 people have tragically lost their lives on farms between 2010 and 2019.
This was “simply not acceptable” and the level of fatalities seen in recent years could not continue.
“As the first ever minister to be given specific responsibility for farm safety, I am working to ensure that safety is at the heart of everything we do on our farms and I am determined to deliver lasting change that will drive down the current level of safety incidents.”
The minister has announced a new accelerated capital allowance (ACA) scheme that will make farm safety investments more accessible to farmers and has also opened a call for proposals for a number of community-led farm safety projects.
With 50,000 farmers set to receive safety training in the coming months, 2021 will be an important year for farm safety, he said.
“I plan to build on the momentum of recent months by working closely with farmers to deliver the needed initiatives that can make a real difference to safety on our farms.
“I wish farmers around the country a happy and safe new year,” Minister Heydon concluded.