It really is the simple things that can be the difference between life and death for farmers in Ireland.

That was the overwhelming message that came out of the recent All-Island Farm Safety Conference in Monaghan.

One farmer told of how he lost his leg after he left a small piece of material hanging from his torn overalls and ended up being caught in a diet feeder.One inconspicuous, simple thing that almost took the man his life.

We’ve become desensitised to farm accidents and farm deaths. We hear of a farm accident or death on a farm, we think about it then we forget about it; the details gone from our minds.

Simon Best, former Ulster rugby player and farmer, put it well when he said that news of a farm death sharpens the mind but all too often it’s a temporary reaction.

Each year we look at the figures of deaths on farms, so far this year in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland there’s been 20. That is 20 deaths too many.

Last year there was 30 farm deaths alone and in the last decade there have been 194 farming fatalities on farms in the Republic.

Tractors and machinery feature in the majority of these accidents, followed by livestock.

‘It will never happen to me’ is another reoccuring theme when we see farm safety videos.

There was a great turnout at the Hillgrove Hotel for the event on farm safety this week; farmers young and old and farmers who had been affected by a farm accident.

However, it’s the farmers that weren’t in the room that need to be targeted about farm safety. So the onus is on us – those in the room – to ensure that the message about farm safety reaches every farmer’s ears.

The typical Irish attitude of ‘ah sure I’ll be grand’ does not protect anyone against farming accidents. It’s too glib a thought, especially about such a serious subject.

So for those of us who have realised that it could happen to us, we must constantly remind others that, yes a farm accident could happen to you. Too easily.