The figures released by the Health and Safety Authority today which show that 55% of work related accidents last year were agriculture related are shocking and underlines the need for a fundamental attitude change across the sector to the issue of farm safety.
The figures are even more demoralising when examined in the context that agriculture accounts for less than 5% of total employment in Ireland.
The extent to which farmers and those connected to farming are more at risk of dying doing their job every day is frightening and despite the efforts that were made in 2014 to raise awareness, preventative action seems to be lacking.
Everybody is aware of the gravity of the issue, yet 2014 saw 30 people lose their lives in farming-related accidents.
Actions not words are the only solution to increase farm safety and reduce farm fatalities. Every person working in the sector must look themselves in the mirror this January and commit to doing their job in a safer fashion throughout the new year and into the future.
Most people who have worked on farms know of an occasion where they took a chance, cut a corner or generally didn’t think of the safety implications of a certain action. There are also thousands of stories of near misses and lucky escapes in the past.
Be under no illusions we are the lucky ones. The 30 people who died on farms last year didn’t have a lucky escape or a near miss.
Harrowing stories across the country are becoming too common. Make the effort this year and put farm safety top of your agenda.