Teagasc says 35% rise in injuries a 'wake-up call' for farmers
INJURIES ON farms have increased by 35 per cent since 2006, new research released by Teagasc today will show.
Almost 2,500 injuries were reported for 2010 compared with 1,800 for 2006. Trips, falls and blows accounted for 42 per cent of injuries, followed by livestock-related injuries at 33 per cent.
Teagasc health and safety officer John McNamara said the research, involving about 1,000 farmers, found that injuries were twice as likely to happen on larger farms than on smaller ones.
“Overall, the survey indicates that the larger-scale farms in the intensive farming sectors of dairying and sheep have double the injury rate of smaller, less intensive farms,” he said.
“However, an injury is an injury, so all farmers should focus on safety, but larger more commercial farms have twice the risk.”
He said farms were becoming increasingly busy and poor work organisation often led farmers to overlook their safety as they hurried to complete work.
Expansion is on the cards for many farmers with milk quotas due to be abolished in 2015 and beef and sheep production poised to increase. Mr McNamara said the challenge was to ensure farms were able to handle the increased stock numbers in a safe way.
“I believe the research findings are a wake-up call for farmers,” he said. Mr McNamara will present his findings at an annual farm safety conference in Cork today. The conference, organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc and the Farm Safety Partnership will focus on this expected expansion on farms and the challenge to ensure it does not lead to increased death and injury.
Between 2000 and 2010, 49 per cent of deaths in farm accidents related to vehicles or machinery, according to the Health and Safety Authority. Almost one in five deaths was caused by falls, or the collapse of objects. Livestock caused 14 per cent of deaths.
IFA farm family vice-chairwoman Maura Canning will speak at today’s conference on the role of women in making the farm a safer place.
She said summer holidays meant children would be spending more time on the farm. “Farm families will also be hosting cousins, some of whom may not have the same level of awareness of the dangers that exist around farmyards.”
Ms Canning encouraged parents to go through safety measures with their children again. “Farm women know how important it is to constantly remind everyone on the farm to stay safe. Women are more cautious than men and they need to insist on the importance of being vigilant and not taking short-cuts.”
Health and Safety Authority senior inspector Pat Griffin said a failure to improve safety would lead to even higher accident rates when farms got bigger and busier.