Farmers Beware: HSA Urges Caution in Risky Undertakings!

"Farmers Urged to Prioritize Safety Amidst Alarming Statistics Revealing Farming as One of Ireland's Most Dangerous Occupations"

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued a plea to farmers to carefully consider the risks involved before undertaking any work on their farms. This appeal comes in light of new figures released by the HSA, which reveal that farming remains one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland. According to the data, the farming and construction sectors accounted for more than two-thirds of the 43 work-related fatalities in 2023. Specifically, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector recorded 20 fatalities last year, with 16 of those deaths directly related to farming. The construction sector had the second highest number of reported work-related fatalities in 2023, with 11 deaths recorded.

The HSA highlighted that working with vehicles and falling from heights were the leading causes of work-related deaths in 2023. The self-employed accounted for 53% of the fatalities, and over half of the individuals who lost their lives were aged over 55. Out of the 43 work-related fatalities, 39 were male and four were female. Cork had the highest number of recorded fatalities with seven, followed by Dublin and Kerry with five fatalities each.

Mark Cullen, assistant chief executive of the HSA, commented on the data, stating, “Although we welcome the decrease in work-related fatality rates over the past ten years, from 2.8 per 100,000 in 2014 to 1.6 in 2023, we still observe a persistently high level of fatalities in certain sectors. Farming, being a high-risk sector, continues to account for the highest number of fatalities, with 37% of victims being aged 65 and over.”

Given that many farmers are self-employed and often work alone, Cullen emphasized the need for them to carefully consider the tasks they plan to undertake and to seek assistance from qualified and trained workers when necessary. He also stressed the importance of conducting thorough risk assessments prior to commencing any work and ensuring that appropriate preventative measures are in place to guarantee the safety of those involved.

The HSA recently published its Programme of Work for 2024, which will concentrate on specific work activities and workplaces through a series of proactive inspections and targeted campaigns. This year, the focus will be on “high-risk sectors” such as agriculture and construction. The Programme of Work also highlights key areas of concern regarding changing workforce demographics and the impacts of technology and the environment on Irish workers.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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