Farmers have been urged to take heed of the dangers in their workplace as National Farm Safety Awareness week kicks off from today, Monday, July 15 to Friday, July 19.

Commenting on the event, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has added his support to the initiative which is being run by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Minister Creed said: “I very much welcome that the IFA is leading the fifth annual Farm Safety Week.

It is important that every organisation involved in agriculture continually raises the need for farmers to farm safely.

“This initiative along with others – such as the recent Health and Safety Authority (HSA) farm safety campaign – are very important in increasing awareness of the unacceptable level of farm accidents that occur every year and the need for continual awareness of farm safety.

It is important to remember that farms are both work places and family homes and it is important that the whole family is alert to the risks that exist on farms.

“One of the first steps in helping to achieve a safe farm is for farmers to adhere to the Farm Safety Code of practice and to review their Farm Risk Assessment.”

Minister Creed added: “While there are many risks in farming, farming does not have to be a dangerous occupation.

“Behavioural change is what is required to prevent many accidents. It is a case of being aware of the dangers and taking the time to do what is necessary to minimise the risk.

“It is important that all farming organisations encourage farmers to change their behaviours in relation to farm safety.”

12 fatalities this year

To date this year, there has been 12 fatal farm accidents on Irish farms.

These 12 fatal farm accidents account for over 40% of all fatal work accidents so far in 2019, while farming accounts for less than 6% of the workforce.

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “We must all work together with the single goal of preventing farm accidents and therefore saving lives and minimising serious injuries.”