The Health and Safety Authority estimates that it will spend €417,000 on farm safety initiatives in 2017, maintaining funding at 2016 levels. 

The estimates from the HSA were revealed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor in a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue.

“HSA budgets for various sectoral activities for 2017 are currently being finalised,” the minister said.

However, the HSA has assured me that the budget for farm safety initiatives will, at a minimum, be maintained at the same level as that for 2016.

In 2016, HSA expenditure on farm safety initiatives amounted to €416,918, the Minister revealed.

“The Authority has also indicated that in light of the continuing high level of fatalities in the farming sector further funding, if required, can be provided for farm safety initiatives in 2017 once the overall budget is finalised.

“In 2016 there were 21 fatalities on Irish farms with one recorded fatality so far in 2017.

As agriculture continues to be the highest sector for workplace fatalities, farm safety remains a very high priority for the HSA and this is reflected in the level of resources being assigned by the HSA to that sector.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor also revealed that she has met recently with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

During this meeting the minister discussed the issue of farm safety and explored how both their Departments and the HSA can work more closely together to improve this situation in relation to farm safety, she added.

Farm Deaths in 2016

The HSA confirmed that farming was Ireland’s most dangerous profession in 2016.

Nine of the 21 people who lost their lives in farm accidents in 2016 were men over the age of 65.

The number of fatalities on Irish farms in 2016 increased by three, when compared with figures from the previous year.

Highlighting the concern for the farming sector is the fact that workplace fatalities fell by 21% across all sectors in 2016, with 12 fewer people losing their lives when compared to the year before.