Teagasc data has found that about one quarter of Irish farmers see other farmers taking risks, but don't take those risks themselves, Teagasc senior research officer Dr David Meredith has said.

While this is still a minority of farmers, it's a positive step and indicates that there is a safety culture developing on farms, Meredith explained on Teagasc's Friday morning Signpost webinar.

The webinar was based on encouraging sustainable health and safety on farms for 2023.

"This is developing and it is really important if we are going to change how we communicate safety and how we make farming a safer occupation into the future.

Not everyone behaves unsafely

"If we think that everyone else is speeding when they get in a car, we will accept that.

"But if we find out that only 10% of people go over 10km/h in a 50km/h zone, then we begin to realise that we are the outlier and the exception - this is a very effective communication tool and has proven to be very successful in a whole host of other areas as well," he said.

Basically, he said, it communicates that not everyone behaves unsafely.


However, slightly more than 50% of farmers still believe that accidents are to be expected, according to the data.

"Among farmers in general, there is an expectation that farming is a risky business and accidents are to be expected. In the academic language, we say that risk taking is normalised.

In several studies over the past year, Teagasc researchers looked at what is influencing farmers and farm workers' safety practices on farm.

Social influences and peer pressure, Meredith explained, were critical in shaping what many farmers, farm workers or advisers believe and how they act when it comes to issues of farm safety.