Above: Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, Ciaran Roche, the FSPAC Chair, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon T.D. and Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority
The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC), an advisory committee to the Board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), has published its latest Action Plan for 2021-2024.
The FSPAC is made up of representatives and experts from a variety of relevant agriculture organisations and is tasked with improving occupational health and safety in the sector.
Over the past decade, more people died in agriculture compared with any other economic sector. Of the 495 work-related fatalities in Ireland between 2011 and 2020, 208 occurred in agriculture, according to the Health and Safety Authority’s Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020.
51% of the worker-victims were aged 65 years or older, while 21 of the victims were aged under 18.
Agriculture is a high-risk industry, where most are self-employed and predominantly work alone. Workers are potentially exposed to many dangers, such as large animals, heavy machinery, and liquids such as slurry and gas emitting materials.
The aim of the new Farm Safety Action Plan is to reduce the level of fatalities, serious injuries and ill health in the agriculture sector. The FSPAC has identified five critical areas for attention:
Behaviour, Education and Training; Health and Vulnerable Persons; Tractor, High Risk Machinery; Livestock Handling; Buildings, Work at Height.
Welcoming the new plan, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said “This Action Plan is ambitious and achieving the objectives will be important in our drive to lowering fatalities and serious injuries in the agricultural industry. I would encourage all farmers and business operators in this industry to avail of and use the existing resources including extensive HSA guidance and the Farm Safety Code of Practice.”
According to the HSA’s Review of Work-Related Deaths in Agriculture in Ireland 2011-2020, work-related fatalities were more frequent in spring and summer, with the highest number happening in July (34, 16%). This pattern may be related to the intensity of farming activity during spring and summer.
Work-related fatalities involving children were most common during the summer, particularly August (five, 24%) and July (four, 19%).
The Health and Safety Authority has many free tools, courses and supports available, including free health and safety courses on HSALearning.ie and the farm risk assessment tool farmsafely.com.
Read the Farm Safety Action Plan on https://www.hsa.ie
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