Farming 10 times more dangerous than other occupations

A new report released today, 24 May 2017, entitled “Risk taking and accidents on Irish farms” has shown that farming is the occupation with the highest risk of fatalities in Ireland. The report, completed as part of the ESRI and Health and Safety Authority research programme, examines a number of different types of risks that farmers take and looks at whether they are associated with accidents or “near misses” on the farm.

The report examined risk taking in terms of failing to routinely take six different types of safety precautions, listed below:

  • Getting help with difficult jobs (27%);
  • Using safety gear, such as goggles, ear defenders, high-viz. vests (26%);
  • Using power take-off (PTO) or machinery guards (12%);
  • Checking that machinery is in good working order before use (11%);
  • Using restraining or handling facilities when treating animals (8%);
  • Keeping chemicals stored away from access by children (3%).

Some of the key findings in the report include:

  • Twelve per cent of farmers in the survey were personally involved in an accident, 27 per cent had had a near miss and 8 per cent reported that someone else had been involved in an accident on their farm.
  • Only half of the farmers who had experienced an accident reported subsequently changing something on the farm.
  • Not getting help was strongly associated with both accidents and near misses involving the farmer.
  • Not checking machinery was significantly associated with accidents involving others and with near misses involving the farmer.

Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the HSA stated: “This research is important because it helps us to develop a deeper understanding of the mind-set of farmers and why unsafe practices are occurring. Once we understand what triggers risk taking on farms we can implement strategies that are appropriate, for the industry, and will bring about a sustained reduction in accidents.”

Read the ESRI press release in full.

Download: Risk-taking and accidents on Irish farms: an analysis of the 2013 Health and Safety Authority survey