The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) launched a national farm safety campaign on Tuesday 7 May and is in the process of inspecting farms nationwide to focus on the safe use of tractors, machinery and vehicles on the farm.

Farmers need to address any maintenance or servicing issues with their machinery now and prepare for silage season.

Pat Griffin of the HSA said: “Farmers are facing many difficulties at the moment, but they will find that our inspectors will provide guidance to help ensure tragedy doesn’t strike their farm.

"The condition of the machinery to be used is critical and any maintenance issues should be addressed now, well in advance of use, particularly in relation to hitching, steering and braking systems.

"Given the extent of blind spots from tractors, loaders and other large harvesting machinery often involved in fatal incidents, the farmyard must be designated as a no-go area for pedestrians while large machinery is operating.”


Farm machinery and vehicles, including tractors, teleporters, loaders and quad bikes (ATVs), continue to be the leading cause of fatalities on Irish farms, accounting for 51% of all farm fatalities over the last 10 years (2014 to 2023), with farmers over 65 and children at greatest risk.

Over the last 10 years, there were 96 machinery- and vehicle-related fatalities on Irish farms.

Of these 96 fatalities, 44 involved tractors, 10 involved loaders or teleporters and 10 involved quad bikes.

In the same 10-year period, vehicles were involved in over one third (38%) of fatalities to people aged 65 years or over (36 deaths).

Vehicles and machinery were involved in 94% of child deaths on farms (16) over the same period.

The majority of injuries and fatalities with tractors, loaders, ATVs or other farm machinery involve a combination of operator error, poor maintenance and a lack of training, combined with the presence of children or elderly near the work activity.

Farmers need to consider the following:

  • Has the work activity been risk assessed and planned in advance?
  • Have all drivers or operators received adequate instruction and training?
  • Are excessive working hours and fatigue managed?
  • Are brakes, handbrakes or parking brakes working properly?
  • Are cabs and doors in good condition?
  • Are tractor mirrors clean, in good condition and set correctly?
  • Do all operators of vehicles have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • Has the farmyard and silage pit area been designated as a no-go area for pedestrians while machinery is operating?
  • Is work organised to avoid the presence of young children or other vulnerable individuals such as elderly family members?
  • Harvesting checklist

    Pat Griffin added that the HSA is asking all farmers and contractors, before the silage season starts, to complete the dedicated harvesting checklist found in the current farm risk assessment document to help identify any necessary improvements.

    "Serious injuries or deaths can be prevented if farmers carry out this risk assessment, plan their work well in advance, ensure basic precautions are taken and remember to keep people and vehicles separate to ensure safety.”