Tractors and machinery are the main cause of farm fatalities in Ireland, Health and Safety Authority figures show.

Figures show that the elderly and children are the most at risk groups.

Entangled in a PTO shaft, a vehicle overturning and being struck by a tractor are some of the most common causes of fatalities.

The keys to prevention are training, good maintenance and safe work practices, according to the HSA.

How often do you look at your tractor for the following checks?

  1. Cab/Roll bar in good condition.
  2. U guard is in place on the tractor to cover the PTO stub.
  3. All controls in working order and clearly marked/ understood.
  4. Tractor brakes in good working order and adequate for the work.
  5. Handbrake fully operational.
  6. Mirrors, lights, indicators and wipers functioning, clean and visible.
  7. All hitching equipment free of defects.
  8. All visible defects identified and rectified.

 ‘We need to stop the excuses around farm safety’

Farmers and those involved in agriculture need to ‘stop the excuses’ around farm safety, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

He said he was shocked by the 30 fatalities on Irish farms in 2014. The next closest figure in the past 11 years was 22, he told a Seanad committee earlier this year on farm safety.

When 6% of the working population are suffering the burden, trauma and grief of 60% of workplace fatalities, something is very seriously wrong.

This year, he said, is going to be the change year. “It has to be the change year.”

He said it is important to be honest and admit that farms are dangerous places.