Basic Payment cuts would make 55% of farmers take note of farm safety

The majority of farmers who responded to a recent Agriland poll said a cut to their Basic Payment would make them sit up and take notice of farm safety.

The poll results come following the announcement by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) that farming was the most dangerous profession in Ireland in 2016.

According to the HSA, some 21 people lost their lives in farm accidents in 2016, nine of these were men over the age of 65.

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In addition, the poll results show that 76% of farmers think their farm is safe. This is despite the agricultural sector recording the highest number of fatalities over the past seven years.

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Furthermore, almost three out of every four farmers (74%) said they felt their farm would pass a farm safety inspection, while 65% said farm safety inspections are stringent enough.

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Adding to cross-compliance will not help farm safety

This week, ICMSA President John Comer said the EU needs to develop a policy that will deliver an income to farmers that allows investment in farm infrastructure including farm safety and labour saving technologies.

“What we need is more time to concentrate on what we’re doing – a space in which to look around and be cognisant of possible threats and safety – and adding another area of cross-compliance to the workloads will do exactly the opposite,” he said.

Comer said the idea of penalising farmers is contradictory and illogical.

“ICMSA absolutely rejects the idea that direct payments – already subject to onerous cross-compliance and conditional upon inspection – must be linked to yet another round of inspection and regulation that is one of the more obvious causes of the problem in the first case.

“How many times must this be repeated: workload, stress and time pressures are causes of farm accidents and fatalities – not the solution.

“We’re deeply committed to working on this most critical of issues – after all, it’s our members who are most directly exposed – but the solutions have to be workable and not compound the problem,” he said.