New farm safety measures by the Health and Safety Authority are welcome if they save lives, said the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Ireland.

The HSA last week confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that, from January 2015, farmers can be prosecuted in court and not just warned or fined for specific alleged misdemeanours, including banning children under the age of seven from being in a tractor cab.

The IOSH said it offers its support to the HSA, saying it is clear that farming organisations generally feel enforcement is not the answer because of the nature of Irish farms being typically family owned and operated.

IOSH Vice President Declan Gibney, said: “While this change in approach by the HSA may cause some unease across the agricultural sector, it is clear that the present approach is not working as we are not at the point where the number of deaths is starting to fall."

Twenty five deaths have occurred on Irish farms this year and almost three quarters have been as a result of vehicles and machinery. Three children have died so far in 2014.