Farm deaths down to 17 last year but machinery/livestock are still the big killers

Machinery remains the 'big killer' on farms.
Machinery remains the 'big killer' on farms.

A REDUCTION in the number of people who lost their lives in farming accidents in 2018 – down from 24 to 17 as compared to 2017 – has been cautiously welcomed by farm leaders as a possible step in the right direction on farm safety.

Farm deaths for the previous five years – 2013 to 2017 – had averaged out at 22 per year with 2014 a year of particular carnage when there were 30 deaths on Irish farms.

The big killer on Irish farms continues to be farm vehicles and machinery that accounted for nine of the 2018 fatalities (53%) followed by livestock incidents that claimed the lives of five farmers in 2018 (29% of the deaths).

The other three farmers deaths in 2018 were as a result of a fall from a height, a slurry drowning and a timber cutting accident – one encouraging trend last year was that in the final quarter of 2018, there was no fatality recorded on Irish farms.

Ten of the 17 farm fatalities last year involved people aged 65 years or older with a further half of those occurring to persons aged 75 or over.

Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist, Dr John McNamara, called on farmers to give safety first priority during January and the busy Spring period in 2019.

“The risk of farm accidents rises with increased work activity and prevention is strongly associated with implementing behavioural practices.

“Being struck with a moving vehicle is the most frequent cause of farm deaths on Irish farms, so particular vigilance is needed when machinery is being operated.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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