Farmers will be inspected by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) on livestock safety from Monday, 22 January, as the calving season kicks-off in earnest.

The campaign of inspections will last for two weeks and it will focus on the safe management of livestock during calving season, when the risk of injury to farmers increases significantly, the HSA said.

Senior HSA inspector Pat Griffin said farming can be a hazardous working environment and working with livestock continues to be a factor in work-related fatalities on Irish farms.

“Farmers should review the risks, ensuring appropriate controls for safety are in place,” he said.

Cows and calves

Griffin added that farmers should exercise extra caution when dealing with cows who have just calved, as well as getting help if they need more rest.

“Never turn your back on cows with newborn calves. The cow may perceive you as a threat and attack.

“We know that long hours and prolonged night work increase the risk of accidents during this busy time due to fatigue.

“We advise that if you are fatigued, you should seek assistance and get more rest,” he said.

In the last five years, 80 people have lost their lives working on farms in Ireland. Of these fatalities, 18 involved working with livestock.

In 2023 there were 16 farming fatalities, with five of those involving livestock.