The fourth annual Farm Safety Week starts today, with the IFA and its partners reminding people that farming kills and injures more people than any other industry in Ireland and the UK.
While farm fatalities were down by 40% in 2015, with 18 deaths reported versus 30 in 2014, four of them child fatalities, the organisers insist that far greater awareness is needed to improve safety on the farm.
The campaign will feature themed messages each day this week, covering subjects such as falls, machinery, livestock, transport and children on farms.
This year’s Farm Safety Week is supported by more organisations than in prior campaigns, including the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland.
It aims to educate and inspire to improve agriculture’s poor safety record.
“These are not just statistics,” said Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority and member of Farm Safety Partnership Ireland.
“Behind each story is a grieving family, a community in shock, and a farm that needs to continue being farmed no matter what has happened.
“This year, the week is focusing upon the power of the positive. We know we need to engage with farmers of all ages to make farms safer places to work and live.”
Monday focuses on the theme of falls, which caused one-fifth of Ireland’s fatal farm accidents in 2015.
IFA President Joe Healy, “Farming remains a labour-intensive and sometimes dangerous occupation.
“Each year farm fatalities in Ireland reach double figures and more than 1,000 injuries occur on farms.
“We are working with our counterparts in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales on five days and five themes but one clear question — Have you thought about ‘Who Would Fill Your Boots?’ if you were to have a farm accident.”
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, added: “I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that follows farm accidents and fatalities. The impact on families and communities is unquantifiable.
“We must all continue to work together to drive behavioural change so that safe working practices are followed at all times.”