FARMING continues to be the most hazardous occupation in Ireland, consistently reporting the highest number of fatalities in comparison to other sectors over the last number of years.
In recent years, 19 people, on average, have been killed each year in farm related workplace incidents, with 194 farming fatalities in the last decade (2006-2015). There have been 14 deaths to date in 2016.
Analysis of fatal accident statistics from the Health and Safety Authority show that farmers are eight times more likely, than those in the general working population, to die in a workplace accident.
The Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc, with FBD sponsorship and the support of the Farm Safety Partnership, hosted a National Conference on Farm Safety and Health last week at the Mullingar Park Hotel in Co Westmeath. One of the key themes discussed at the conference was how no one expects an accident to happen to them or their loved ones.
Galway farmer, Peter Gohery told the conference how his accident and subsequent extensive injuries are having lifelong consequences for him and his family.
He appealed to his fellow farmers to use the safety management systems that have been developed by the HSA and Teagasc, like the ‘Farm Safety Code of Practice’ and training to manage risks.
Michael Noble from Mental Health Ireland spoke about how farming can be a very stressful occupation and that sadly this stress often resulted in farmers taking their own lives when they felt unable to cope. He spoke about the importance of building resilience and the ability to cope with all aspects of modern life.
Attendees also heard about the importance of being aware of the signs of stress, in themselves or others, so that action can be taken in time to reach out and manage the stress.