Teagasc and HSA join forces to tackle farm safety
Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) renewed a joint initiative agreement on Friday to promote farmer safety and health for the next three years.
It comes in the face of growing safety challenges on farms, as they expand and the farming population continues to age.
Agriculture accounts for less than 6% of the Irish workforce, but often accounts for up to 50% of work-related deaths.
Last year 24 farmers died in work-related accidents, with 14 of them aged 65 or older.
This week, doctors at Cork University Hospital expressed concern about the level of farm injuries it dealt with.
Under the new Teagasc/HSA agreement:
Martin O’Halloran, HSA chief executive, said that while the approach to farm safety and health is generally well understood by farmers and the broader farming community, “this awareness must now be matched by real actions on the ground”.
He warned: “Farmers face a wide variety of hazards and risks on a daily basis and must proactively manage them to ensure a safe and healthy working life.”
Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said Teagasc will be emphasising the need for improvements in work organisation to cut farmer workloads in its advisory programmes in 2018.
“Working long hours and hurrying have been shown to be major contributory factors in farm accidents,” said Boyle.
“This may also be a contributory factor to the rise in accidents among older farmers in recent years.”