The IFA, Health and Safety Authority (HSA), FBD and Teagasc have joined forces to call on farmers to rethink safety during the ninth annual Farm Safety Week.

To date, there have been three farm fatalities this year. Last year there were 20 farm fatalities and 121 non-fatal injuries reported to the HSA in relation to farming. The number of injuries has been consistently increasing since 2016, when just 74 injuries were recorded.

“The messages from this week should be carried forward by everybody working on farms to keep themselves safe. The impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental well-being cannot be underestimated. We would encourage everybody to seek support and resources to maintain a resilient and positive approach to their work,” IFA president Tim Cullinan said.

His sentiments were echoed by Patricia Murray, senior psychologist with the HSA, who highlighted stress factors following the pandemic.

When we’re stressed or tired, we don’t pay attention to details. We make more mistakes, which can have devastating consequences,” Murray said.

“Take short breaks regularly, even for five minutes. Build enjoyment into the working day to alleviate the build-up of stress. Get support and help from local networks and plan for activities you find stressful to reduce the risk. Re-framing a dreaded task by imagining how someone else might do it can often help.”