There was an increase in the number of fatal accidents that occurred on NI farms during 2021, new figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) confirm.

Seven farm fatalities were recorded in NI last year, up from four deaths in 2020 and one fatal accident in 2019.

Of the fatalities that occurred during 2021, three were caused by accidents related to agricultural equipment and vehicles.

Three other accidents were due to falls from a height or being struck by a falling item and one fatality was caused by slurry gas.

Seven farm fatalities were also recorded in both 2016 and 2017

The number of farm deaths recorded in NI last year is the highest since 2018, when eight fatal accidents occurred.

Seven farm fatalities were also recorded in both 2016 and 2017.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, a HSENI spokesperson urged farmers to take on board long-standing farm safety advice.

This is centred around the four main risk areas on farms – slurry, animals, falls and equipment – which form the acronym “SAFE”.

Work carefully

In particular, the HSENI spokesperson urged farmers to plan all work carefully and to carry out regular maintenance so that farm vehicles and equipment are in good working order.

“It is easy to become complacent, these tragic incidents highlight the need to take safety seriously. Farmers need to take time to ‘stop and think’ to protect themselves,” the spokesperson said.