Machinery is associated with 17% of farm deaths, according to Teagasc and between 2005 and 2014, 58 people were killed due to accidents with tractors and farm vehicles.

According to Health and Safety Authority (HSA) figures, 73% of these deaths were caused by crushing.

Some 12% of fatalities were caused by the vehicle overturning, 10% were struck by the vehicle and 5% of fatalities were due to falls from the vehicle.

The main causes are being crushed by a part, entangled in the PTO shaft and other machine parts and being stuck in machinery.

At a farm safety event earlier this year, John Delaney a Teagasc Technical Officer, said that the top five causes (in no particular order) of machinery accidents were:

  • Inexperienced operator.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Loss of control.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Poor work plan or method.

Delaney then said that following on from these causes was poorly managed equipment and unguarded moving parts.

Equipment not matching (for example a smaller tractor with a bigger trailer) and bad weather conditions were the next causes of accidents.

Delaney also pointed out that accidents were also caused by things not being done correctly or the simple things not being looked at.

Accidents are also caused by not carrying out pre-start checks and incorrect three-point hitching.

Other causes of accidents included:

  • Faulty handbrake.
  • Unlatched pick-up hitch.
  • Hydraulic pipes coupled incorrectly.
  • Worn track rod ends.
  • Incorrect tyre inflation procedure.
  • Working under unsupported equipment.