The National Conference on Farm Safety and Health held in Ennis last week heard that there are certain issues we have to face in agriculture, according to Pat Griffin, senior inspector for agriculture with the Health and Safety Authority.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at the conference, he said: “One of the biggest issues is the risk to elderly people on farms.

“This year, 12 of the 21 deaths are to over-65s, 11 are to over-70s.

“This is a very difficult group to reach and a very difficult group to change their way of working.”

Listen to Pat Griffin in our podcast below:

John McNamara of Teagasc also told the conference that the pressure on full- and part-time farmers is growing and this is affecting human health.

“This is too high. Families are grieving.”

He said working in a hurry is a major factor in farm accidents, particularly in spring when the workload increases dramatically. “Farmers are under increased work pressure, as the dairy sector has expanded, while drystock farmers are availing of off-farm employment with the upturn in the economy.

A total of 21 people have died this year on Irish farms.

Farming accounts for approximately 6% of the workforce but remains the most dangerous occupation in the country, accounting for about 60% of the deaths.

Too much machinery

JJ Dockery, a safety training manager with FRS, said at the conference that more machinery training for farmers is needed and that farmers have too much machinery.

“It [training] is essential. In other work sectors across the country, training is absolutely essential. Training works.

“To me, there’s a need for a state-recognised mandatory training programme around safety, excluding the Certificate in Farming (the Green Cert).

“I would suggest that many farmers have too much machinery.”

Read more

‘I ended up at the bottom of a slurry tank… everything weighs you down’

‘Farmers have too much machinery’