Additional reporting by Bernie Commins

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is investigating the circumstances surround the death of man at a farm in south Galway yesterday (Tuesday, July 12).

Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of the fatal workplace accident that occurred in the Derreen area of Gort, Co. Galway

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochána told Agriland: “At approximately 7:10p.m, the body of a man aged in his 60s was located on a farm in the area.

“The body of the man was removed from the scene to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem [examination] will take place at a later date.”

The HSA has confirmed that it is aware of the incident and has launched an investigation. It added that no further information in relation to the cause of the fatality is available at this time.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) regional executive for Galway-Mayo, Roy O’Brien, offered his sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

“Every hour of every day is about farm safety and we need to always ask, is there a safer way to do something [on farm]?” he said.

The accident, he said, occurred around the same time that the IFA held a farm safety event at Mountbellew Agricultural College in east Galway.

Such events, he said, highlight the importance of farm safety, particularly at this time of year.

HSA and farm safety

Recently, the HSA revealed that it carried out 400 ‘agricultural, forestry and fishery’-related inspections/investigations in 2021 – the same year that a 50% reduction in farming-related fatalities also occurred.

But, according to the HSA’s annual report for 2021, the number of inspections fell by more than 50% when compared to the safety authority’s agricultural activity in 2020.

The language used to describe numbers of investigations and/or inspections in 2020 and 2021 annual reports differ.

In the 2021 annual report, the HSA indicated that a total of ‘400 inspections/investigations’ were carried out. However, when compared to the 2020 annual report, we see that the number of investigations and inspections are listed separately, and there is a big difference between the two years.

In 2020, 836 inspections were carried out, while 61 investigations also took place.