Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Martin O'Halloran said that farming related deaths are rising while fatalities in other occupations are falling.

"There has been a positive reduction overall, but in marked contrast, the situation in the faming sector is not positive at all," he said. "Many of these accidents can be foreseen and prevented."

He added that 20% of the HSA resources go into farm safety schemes, even though farming accounts for 6% of employment in Ireland.

Representatives from the HSA appeared in front of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to discuss proposals to cut back on the number of farm safety inspections.

Despite the number of farm deaths in 2014 being the highest in over 20 years with 30 fatal accidents, the HSA is cutting farm inspections this year to 2,300. A total of 2,644 inspections took place in 2014, compared to 2,748 in 2013 and 3,136 in 2012.

HSA inspector Pat Griffin said there is a direct colleration between an increase in output last year and the high rate farm accidents.

"There was a 40% increase in output last year," he said. "An increase in production results in more risk. The lifting of quotas and expansion is another challenge.

"We've mapped it and found that dairy farms are the most dangerous. Over 50% of fatal accidents take place on dairy farm, though they account for 17% of all farms in Ireland."

O'Halloran said that the principal responsibilty lies with the farmer in decreasing accidents.

"However we will work to support farmers," he said. "Our approach is to bring a culture of change."

Rather than carry out more inspections, the HSA plan to introduce more educational programmes for farmers, with school pupils targetted as well as adults. They will also continue working with Teagasc to implement farm walks and partake in discussion groups.