A farm safety awareness campaign focusing on farm vehicles and machinery has been launched by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon and Minister of State for business Neale Richmond.

The joint campaign promotes farm safety practices and behavioural change when operating farm vehicles and machinery and is supported by the Department of Agriculture and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

Over the last 10 years, there have been 191 farm fatalities of which 96 people lost their lives in incidents involving farm vehicles and machinery.

Sixteen of the 17 child fatalities in the same period involved farm vehicles and machinery.

According to the Teagasc national farm survey in 2020, approximately 11% of the 4,500 non-fatal incidents on Irish farms each year involve farm vehicles and machinery, with some resulting in life-changing injuries.

Practical steps

Launching the joint media campaign, Minister Heydon said: “Behind each figure is a farm, a family and a community that have been left devastated.

"In the weeks ahead, tractor activity will increase and we need to drive down the unacceptably high number of fatalities involving farm vehicles and machinery.

"It is incumbent on everyone involved in farming to act now by taking the practical steps necessary to prevent any loss of life or injury when using farm machinery.”

Plan ahead

“The needless loss of life on our farms is an ongoing tragedy,” Minister Richmond stated.

“No job is so important or urgent that a person’s life is put in danger or harm’s way. Plan ahead, get help where needed and don’t take shortcuts, it’s just not worth it.”

HSA CEO Conor O'Brien stated: “The evidence is clear - farm machinery and tractors are the leading cause of fatalities and injuries on our farms. Make sure your machinery is in good working order, particularly brakes and mirrors.

"Only competent users with proper training should operate farm machinery. HSA inspectors will be undertaking a nationwide farm inspection blitz over the coming weeks to support this campaign and help farmers understand and address the issues.”