Rushing and long days are high risk

Prof. Gerry Boyle: Less hurrying.
Prof. Gerry Boyle: Less hurrying.

WORKING long hours, rushing, and the age profile of farmers, are some of the contributory factors to the high rate of injuries and deaths on Irish farms, according to Teagasc Director, Prof. Gerry Boyle.

He said that farmers needed to strive for improvements in work organisation to cut their workloads – this approach would now be forming a key part of the Teagasc approach to farm safety, he added.

“Working long hours and hurrying have been shown to be major contributory factors in farm accident causation. This may also be a contributory factor to the rise in accidents among older farmers in recent years,” said Gerry Boyle.

His comments came at the launch of a Joint Initiative Agreement between Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority aimed at promotion farm health and safety over the next three years.

The initiative aims to provide safety and health research, training and advisory support to farmers coming at a time when up to half of work related deaths occur on farms, even though only 6% of the workforce are involved in agriculture.

In 2017, out of a total of 47 workplace deaths, 24 farmers died in work related accidents, with 14 being aged 65 or older.

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.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.