HSA funding for farm safety initiatives cut by over €150,000 for 2016

The Health and Safety Authority has allocated a budget of €244,000 for 2016 for farm safety initiatives, according to the Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Pat Breen.

This figure is down on the funding allocated in 2015, which stood at €396,251 – a decrease of €152,251.

Comparing the farm safety initiative funding figures between 2011 and 2015, this years funding is the lowest in over five years.

In 2011 the figure stood at €264,481 and increased to €589,870 in 2012. This then dropped to €449,669 in 2013 and to €327,953 in 2014.

Speaking in the Dail recently, Minister Breen said that these initiatives this year will include the organisation of, participation in, or support for a number of agriculture-related events.

Such events include the Farmer of the Year Awards, Farm Safety Week, Teagasc Beef 2016, and the National Ploughing Championships.

According to Minister Breen, the HSA’s Programme of Work for 2016 continues the emphasis on engagement with farmers through knowledge sharing groups and the level of inspection on farms will be maintained at 2015 levels.

Priority tasks for the current year include:

  • Implementation of Year 1 of the Farm Safety Partnership Action Plan, 2016 to 2018.
  • Continuing awareness campaigns through the media, events and advertising targeted at agricultural sector.
  • Promotion of good health for farmers.
  • Publication of information sheets.
  • Reviewing and updating the Code of Practice on farm safety.
  • Developing an e-learning tool on tractor and machinery safety.
  • Focusing on child safety on farms through programmes at primary and post-primary school level.
  • Increasing awareness of farm safety throughout the sector.

New Farm Safety Action Plan aims to save lives on Irish farms

Last week, the Farm Safety Partnership, an advisory committee of the Health and Safety Authority, has published a new three-year action plan to save lives and reduce injuries on farms.

The Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-18, lays out a series of specific actions and priorities for tackling the high rates of illness, injury and death on Irish farms.

Farming continues to be the most dangerous sector in which to work with annual fatalities in recent years as high as 50% of the overall total from a sector that employs just 6% of the workforce, figures from the HSA show.

So far this year (as of July 7,) seven people have lost their lives in work-related accidents on farms.

Over the five year period between 2011 and 2015, 106 people were killed on farms and many thousands more seriously injured.