A minute’s silence will be observed at all marts nationwide this week.

This will be held in remembrance of loved ones who have been killed in farming accidents, to promote safety awareness and to further ignite a continuing commitment to farm safety among the farming community, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has announced.

National Marts Farm Safety Awareness and Remembrance Day is supported by ICOS, The Association of Livestock Marts, FBD, the Health and Safety Authority, the Farm Safety Partnership and Embrace, the farm accident support network.

Each mart manager will make a speech at 1:00pm, after which the minute’s silence will be observed.

Speaking on the matter, Michael Spellman, chairman of ICOS National Marts said: “Livestock farming is a challenging and labour-intensive enterprise at the best of times.

It is physically demanding and it carries associated safety risks due to the requirements to manage and control animals – which requires a careful approach and the need to be alert to danger at all times.

“There are also serious ongoing risks from machinery and equipment,” Spellman added.

“Farmers undertake their tasks professionally day-in and day-out, so it is sometimes understandably the case that a routine can take hold. What we all have to ensure is that the daily routine on every farm is actively reducing and eliminating the safety risks that exist.


Michael Spellman, chairman of the National Marts Committee of ICOS

“Staying safe on the farm requires vigilance and prevention. Keeping yourself, your family and your workers safe must become a key part of the daily routine for every farmer because one injury or one life lost, is one too many, and none of us ever want that kind of tragedy visited upon us.

“Safety must not be left to chance – farmers need to manage health and safety on their farm and effectively plan work activities. This planning must include planned safety maintenance on farm tractors machinery, equipment, facilities and time management.”

Spellman expressed sympathy and solidarity on behalf of the co-operative livestock farming community to the families of 197 people, including children, who were killed in farming accidents between 2007 and 2016.

Last weekend alone, there were two fatal accidents in Cork and Wicklow.

Also Read: Separate farm accidents claim the lives of two farmers

“Every fatal farm accident has a devastating effect on that person’s family, friends and the wider farming community. Through this week’s campaign, and on an ongoing basis, we are asking farmers to identify where they can reduce the risks on their farms and if in any doubt, to seek advice on how best to do so.

The high number of serious and fatal accidents is a cause for great concern. Changing unsafe working behaviour is the key to sustaining a reduction in the number of serious and fatal accidents on farms.

“A special focus needs be given to farmers 65 and over, as they generally represent over 50% of the fatal accidents on Irish farms. The physical capabilities of older farmers vary by individual. While some people maintain good strength, flexibility, eyesight, and hearing well beyond the age of 65 – others do not.

“The key is the ability of the older farmer and their families to recognise age-related risk factors, as well as the willingness to modify expectations and physical activity accordingly.

Tractors, machinery and livestock are the main causes of farm fatalities and with this in mind we would ask that extra precautions are always taken when working with or near tractors, machinery and livestock.

“We are asking all farmers to redouble their commitment to farm safety, ask for help if needed and to stop taking risks,” Spellman concluded.