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Three year action plan to save lives and reduce injuries on farms published

The Farm Safety Partnership, an advisory committee of the Health and Safety Authority, has published its Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-18. The new action plan lays out a series of specific actions and priorities for tackling the high rates of illness, injury and death on Irish farms.

Farming continues to be the most dangerous sector in which to work with annual fatalities in recent years as high as 50% of the overall total from a sector that employs just 6% of the workforce. So far this year* seven people have lost their lives in work-related accidents on farms. Over the five year period between 2011 and 2015, 106 people were killed on farms and many thousands more seriously injured.

Welcoming the publication of the action plan, Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD said: “It is appropriate that this action plan has been developed with input from a wide range of key farming stakeholders. We must encourage all farmers to prioritise safety and health on their farms. There is no task so urgent or important to justify risking death or serious injury. The vast majority of accidents on farms are preventable and levels of awareness within farming communities are high. The key now is for farmers to put safety at the centre of their activities and take just a few minutes each day to think about what they’re doing.

“I know that farming is a very tough job and that farmers can feel isolated and overwhelmed. But this is exactly why it’s vital to set aside some time to make sure an accident doesn’t occur. I urge all farmers to think the unthinkable and Take Five Minutes to do whatever is necessary to make sure it doesn’t happen”.

Speaking after the publication of the plan Jim Phelan, HSA Board member and Chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership said: “This is our second three year action plan and although we’ve seen significant increases in awareness and understanding of the hazards on farms, this is not being borne out by sustained reductions in the number of fatalities occurring each year. Certain hazards are still causing the majority of fatal and serious injury. In particular, working with machinery and livestock must be carried out with greater care. Make sure the tractor is in perfect working order, that the PTO guard is in place, get the handbrake fixed, be alert for signs of aggressiveness in livestock, stay off fragile roofs - simple steps like these will save lives and prevent serious injuries”.

Copies of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-18 can be downloaded from!0QCZYZ


* As of July 7th 2016

For further information contact Mark Ryan, Press Officer, Health and Safety Authority on (086) 803614 or



Summary of Farm Fatalities 2016 (as of July 7th):


Circumstances of accident




The deceased received fatal injuries whilst assisting a contractor in filling a trailer with water from a vacuum tanker.




The deceased was preparing to trim tree branches when his work equipment came into contact with an adjacent overhead electricity line.




The deceased was working underneath a raised front loader which dropped and crushed the victim between a cross bar on the loader and the front of the tractor.




The deceased was working at the rear of a tractor which rolled back pinning him under the rear left wheel.




The deceased was using a quad bike which was later found overturned in a drain trapping the victim underneath the quad bike in the water.




The deceased fell through an asbestos cement sheeted roof a distance of approximately 32 feet to the ground.




The deceased was found trapped/crushed between the front of a loader and the rear of a fertiliser spreader which was attached to his tractor.




The Farm Safety Partnership is a committee of the Board of the Health and Safety Authority made up of the following organisations:

Agri Aware

Centre for Men’s Health - Carlow Institute of Technology


Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Farm Relief Services

FBD Insurance

Health and Safety Authority

IOSH Rural Industries Section

Irish Cattle and Sheep Association

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association

Irish Farmers’ Association

Irish Rural Link

Macra na Feirme

Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland


University College Dublin

Veterinary Ireland

Veterinary Council of Ireland


The goals of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-18 are:

  • To achieve cultural behavioural change in health and safety of persons working in the agricultural sector through research, education and training.
  • To develop programmes that will foster innovative approaches and deliver engineering solutions to reduce the risks to persons working in agriculture.
  • To reduce the level of death and injury arising from tractor and machinery use.
  • To establish initiatives to reduce the level of death and injuries arising from working with livestock.
  • To ensure high standards of health and safety are adopted in forestry and timber work on farms.
  • To implement programmes for the protection of health and wellbeing of persons, including vulnerable groups, working in agriculture.


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