A busy and distracted mind is just as dangerous as a cracked manhole cover or damaged PTO, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon has said.

When farmers wake up in the morning, safety must be their first thought and not an afterthought, the minister said while speaking at the Farmers4Safety conference on Thursday.

Farming, the minister said, has a poor safety record, accounting for approximately two in five of all fatal workplace incidents over the past decade, yet only 6% of the working population is employed in the sector.

“Farming continues to be the most dangerous occupation in terms of fatalities in the workplace, with children and the elderly particularly vulnerable,” he said.

The farmer, he said, is the farm’s greatest asset and there needs to be a change in mindset across the whole sector that puts safety and wellbeing first.


The minister said he pushed hard for the new increased grant rate for farm safety equipment of 60% in TAMS III.

This will allow farmers to replace broken or old slats, to install a proper handling and calving area or put up a camera or a light to make late-night calving checks easier.