The role of stress in farm accidents

As the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine launches a National Farm Safety Initiative, and as part of a series of articles on farm safety, Sarah Corcoran looks at what leads to farm accidents occurring. 

Statistics have shown for a number of years that stress causes accidents in the workplace and not only is a farm a work place but it is also a home where other family members and children reside.

And, the current financials difficulties in the beef industry and other farm financial issues can lead to undue stress for farmers in an already difficult and dangerous industry.

When people are feeling overworked, overwhelmed, unappreciated and defeated, which may arise when farmers are working far more than a normal 40 hour week and are finding it difficult to survive financially, stress often takes over.

When you’re feeling stressed which can result for the difficulties in the agriculture industry, you may find it difficult to concentrate and focus on farm tasks; follow mechanical/machine manufacture instructions and taking necessary safety precautions.

Unfortunately, this leads to accidents and fatalities.

In many cases, the stress of feeling as though you need to get the job done as quickly as possible as you are working in excess of 80 hours a week to make a living and not having the time to spend with their family or that you are doing a job that will have no financial benefit, is when accidents can happen. When you rush, you could drop a heavy object on yourself or you might slip causing a machine part to cut or injure you. So far this year 11 out of the 21 facilities have involved machinery.

Due to financial pressures farmers possibly cant invest the time or the money in safety precautions they may require to implement. It’s important to be mindful of stress and farm safety.

No matter what type of work setting, it’s important to pay attention to your stress levels so you are able to manage this and work safety. Many times, the reason why stress causes accidents in the workplace is because it causes people become inattentive to their surroundings. Being aware of your stress, and how it affects your work safety can help you avoid accidents and injuries.

Sarah Corcoran
Environmental Health Specialist, Bord Gais Energy 

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