There were 4,523 accidents on Irish farms in 2020, new data from the Teagasc national farm survey (NFS) has revealed.
The survey was conducted in 2021 and relates to the year 2020.
Over 88% of these farm accidents involved the farm operator, with a further 11% relating to family members, it found, while farm workers accounted for the remaining 1% of farm workplace accidents.
Close to half (46%) of farm workplace injuries required hospitalisation, with a further 18% needing GP medical treatment and 16% receiving first aid. One-fifth of those injured did not require medical or first aid treatment.
In almost half of cases (47%), the injured persons required more than three days of absence from farm work, the threshold for legal accident reporting. Over 20% were out of work for between four and 10 days, with 6% unable to work for 11 to 60 days.
Close to one-fifth (19%) of those involved in farm accidents lost 61 or more days of work. Correspondingly, Teagasc found that 19% did not lose work time.
Sheep farms accounted for 37% of reported workplace accidents, followed by dairy farms (25%), cattle non-suckling (14%) and both cattle suckling and tillage (12%).
“The high level of accidents among sheep farmers requires further investigation related to age of victims and level seriousness of the accidents,” the report found.
“Over half of farm accidents involved livestock (52%), with a further one-third relating to trips and falls (32%).
“Of the remainder, 13% involved farm vehicles and machinery, with a further 3% of accidents specifically associated with farm buildings.”
The majority of farm accidents occurred in farmyards (58%), with 29% in farm buildings, 12% in fields and 1% on farm roads.
Teagasc senior health and safety specialist adviser Dr John McNamara stated that the methodology for the 2021 survey differed somewhat from previous surveys, with farmers asked if they had a farm accident in the previous year.