15 Jan Joint Farm Safety Initiative
Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have signed a “Joint Initiative Agreement” to promote farmer safety and health for the next three years. The initiative aims to provide safety and health research, training and advisory support to farmers.
The renewal of the joint initiative comes at a challenging time for farming due to expansion in the sector and an ageing farmer population. The agriculture sector, which represents 5 to 6 percent of the workforce, often accounts for up to 50% of work-related deaths.
In 2017, out of a total of 47 workplace deaths, 24 farmers died in work related accidents, with 14 being aged 65 or older.
The joint initiative, in place since 2005 when the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act was enacted, was established to make farm safety and health more accessible to farmers through a simplified “Farm Safety Code of Practice”.
During 2018 research on farm accident levels conducted by the Teagasc National Farmer Survey will be finalised. A jointly funded study on the usefulness of discussion groups in promoting farm safety is also underway.
As part of the joint initiative, training on use of the “Farm Safety Code of Practice” will continue to be provided by Teagasc and Agricultural Consultants. Completion of the training is also a requirement for farmers to secure DAFM TAMS11 funding.
The joint initiative will also have an international dimension in 2018. A European COST Action (Co-operation in Science & Technology) meeting will take place in Ireland during March. The meeting, organised by Teagasc and HSA, will share knowledge on improving farm safety culture throughout Europe. Also from April 29 – May 4 a major ‘World Congress on Occupational Health and Safety’ (ICOH International Congress, 2018) will take place in Dublin, which will include presentations on Teagasc / HSA / UCD research on farm safety and health.