‘Essential’ new EU farm safety regulation adopted in Brussels

The European Parliament’s adoption of the Integrated Farm Statistics Regulation will result in a new requirement to record details of farm accidents and fatalities – which is an important step in efforts to address these issues.

This is the view of Mairead McGuinness, MEP and First Vice-President of the European Parliament, who welcomed the news today (Wednesday, July 4).

The MEP, who pushed for the inclusion of these statistics and recently spearheaded a debate in parliament to address the issue, stressed that everyone must redouble their efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on farms.

Regulation

The Integrated Farm Statistics Regulation establishes a framework for European statistics at farm level.

It integrates information on farm structure with information on production methods, rural development measures, agri-environmental aspects and other related issues by means of a flexible system of modules and ad-hoc surveys linked to a core set of variables.

Elaborating on the move, McGuinness said: “An essential step in garnering political and policy support for action is the recording of the vital statistics of fatalities and injuries on farms – and this element has been severely lacking up to now.”

The upcoming reform of the CAP must ensure that measures are taken to address farm safety, she added.

Information

“Accurate information on the causes of farm accidents and the extent of risk-taking on farms is required at an EU level in order to implement policies to tackle this issue which has a very high social and economic cost,” she said.

The MEP’s comments echo those of Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), who earlier this year spoke about how Europeans are “being fed on the lives of 1,000 farmers every single year”.

Following yesterday’s adoption by the European Parliament, in future recording safety measures on farms must be collected in the statistic surveys of EU farming.

These will include measures for machinery, animal housing and also information on farm accidents – such as the type of accident, severity and demographic background of the person(s) involved, she added.

“This is an important initiative in ensuring that we have the necessary statistics to know what is happening on our farms and that hard, rather than anecdotal, evidence is available to justify and underpin important actions to protect and save lives.

“Otherwise there may always be an excuse for prolonging action,” McGuinness concluded.