Farm Safety Action Plan 2021–2024 Launched

Farm Safety Action Plan 2021–2024 Launched

The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC), an advisory committee to the Board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), has today (23 August 2021) published its latest Action Plan for 2021–2024. The FSPAC is made up of representatives and experts from a variety of relevant agriculture organisations and is tasked with improving occupational health and safety in the sector.

The aim of the new Farm Safety Action Plan is to reduce the level of fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector. The FSPAC has identified five critical areas for attention:

  1. Behaviour, Education and Training
  2. Health and Vulnerable Persons
  3. Tractor, High Risk Machinery
  4. Livestock Handling
  5. Buildings, Work at Height

Agriculture is a high-risk industry, where most are self-employed and predominantly work alone. Workers are potentially exposed to many dangers, such as large animals, heavy machinery, and liquids such as slurry and gas emitting materials.

Welcoming the new Farm Safety Action Plan 2021–2024, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said “The new Farm Safety Partnership, with its multi-stakeholder membership, provides a broad view of the agricultural sector and will be delivering on the key areas where health and safety improvements are needed the most. This Action Plan is ambitious and achieving the objectives will be important in our drive to lowering fatalities and serious injuries in the agricultural industry. I would encourage all farmers and business operators in this industry to avail of and use the existing resources including extensive HSA guidance and the Farm Safety Code of Practice. I would also like to wish the Farm Safety Partnership well in delivering on this Action Plan over the next four years.”

Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011–2020
The HSA has also today published a “Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011–2020”. This report focuses on the characteristics of the 208 work-related fatalities in Agriculture, and is based on comprehensive data on all work-related incidents that resulted in a fatality.

Over the past decade, more people died in agriculture compared with any other economic sector. Of the 495 work-related fatalities in Ireland during 2011–2020, 208 occurred in Agriculture. Fifty-one per cent of the worker-victims were aged 65 years or older, while 21 of the victims were aged under 18.

According to the review, work-related farm fatalities were more frequent in spring and summer, with the highest number happening in July (34, 16%). This pattern may be related to the intensity of farming activity during spring and summer. Work-related fatalities involving children were most common during the summer months, particularly August (five, 24%) and July (four, 19%).

According to the HSA’s Review, work-related fatalities in Agriculture were highest in the south-west region of Cork and Kerry (13.7 per 100,000 employed), followed by the border region of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo (8.9 per 100,000 employed).  The number of work-related fatalities in agriculture were lowest in Dublin (0.2 per 100,000 employed) and the mid-east region of Kildare, Meath, Wicklow and Louth (2.0 per 100,000 employed).
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