Fatal farm accidents ‘account for 50% of all workplace accidents’

Fatal farm accidents have made up 50% of all workplace accidents so far this year, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

This is despite farming accounting for just 6% of the entire workforce, Creed said, adding: “Farm safety is a critical issue facing farming today.

Statistics show that accidents on farms cause more workplace deaths than all other occupations combined.

A total of 29 fatal workplace accidents have been recorded so far in 2017, according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Authority.

Slightly over half of this figure – 15 – can be categorised under the headings of either agriculture, forestry or fishing.

Over the past three years, fatal workplace accidents categorised under the same headings accounted for between 42% and 56% of the total number of workplace accidents.

Slurry pit safety

Meanwhile, there have been five fatal accidents relating to slurry pit safety since the beginning of 2012, Minister Creed said.

“All of the building specifications drawn up by my department for the construction of agricultural buildings and structures include a section on health and safety.

These specifications set out the minimum standard to which all work must be completed and include safety related requirements such as all slurry agitation points being external and guidelines on the safe agitation of slurry.

“It is a requirement of these farm building specifications that all slurry tanks are either securely fenced or covered by slats or slabs with safety access points. These specifications are freely available to all farmers,” he said.

Minister Creed also explained that under TAMS II schemes, grant-aid is available for the retrofitting of safety fencing, safety manhole covers, slabs and slat replacement.

This is in addition to grant-aiding new slurry stores that meet the full requirements of the department’s farm building specifications, he said.