Details of Expenditure on Farm Safety Initiatives 2011 to 2015

July 6th, 2016 - Pat Breen

Details of Expenditure on Farm Safety Initiatives 2011 to 2015

2011 €264,481
2012 €589,870
2013 €449,669
2014 €327,953
2015 €396,251

*Note that annual figures for expenditure include some cross sectoral initiatives where the expenditure would also be relevant to other sectors – it is not possible to extract this so it has been included as the full figure. In addition, some of the advertising initiatives would cross years, so the yearly figure is an estimate of the expenditure relevant to that year.

Farm inspections and investigations 2011 – 2016


Number of farm Inspections and Investigations

2011 3,058
2012 3,136
2013 2,784
2014 2,644
2015 3,056
2016 (up to 1/07/16) 1,338

Visits to farms cover routine unannounced inspections to monitor compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, with other health and safety Regulations and to investigate fatal and serious farm accidents. Typically in any one year there would be between 60 – 90 investigations on farms with the rest being unannounced inspections. Each year the HSA carry out a two week intensive farm inspection campaign in April and this year over 500 inspections were carried out. Since 2014 the HSA has redirected some of its inspection resources to engaging directly with farmers on other accident prevention initiatives. HSA inspectors have participated in over 50 farm safety walks and presentations to farmers, many of which are organised by the farming representative bodies. This has enabled HSA to direct its message to over 2000 farmers.

I am particularly concerned at the high level of farm fatalities and it goes without saying that safety in agriculture continues to be a high priority for the Health and Safety Authority and for the Government. The Health and Safety Authority has sought, in consultation with the Farm Safety Partnership -an advisory committee of the Authority that includes representatives from a wide range of key farming stakeholders – to broaden the type of contact with farmers and to find the most effective means to spread the message of prevention within the farming community.

This week I was present at the launch of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-18 at the Teagasc Beef 2016 event in Grange, Co Meath. This new Action Plan lays out a series of specific actions and priorities over the next three years for tackling the high rates of illness, injury and death on Irish farms. It sets out six major goals as follows:

1). To achieve cultural behavioural change in health and safety of persons working in the agricultural sector through Research, Education and Training.

2). To develop programmes which will foster Innovative Approaches and deliver Engineering Solutions to reduce the risks to persons working in Agriculture.

3). To reduce the level of death and injury arising from Tractor and Machinery use.

4). To establish initiatives to reduce the level of death and injuries arising from working with Livestock.

5). To ensure high standards of health and safety are adopted in Forestry and Timber work on farms.

6). To implement programmes for the protection of health and wellbeing of persons, including vulnerable groups, working in Agriculture.

I commend the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Farm Safety Partnership on their support for the 2016 Farm Safety Week 4 to 8 July. This is the fourth annual Farm Safety Week, an initiative launched in 2013 aiming to cut the toll of accidents which continue to give agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in Ireland. I particularly welcome this joint initiative which brings together the farming organisations from North and South and from the United Kingdom as well as the UK Health & Safety Executive, the Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland.

In November 2015, BeSMART – the free online risk assessment and safety statement tool developed by the Authority – was extended to the agri–business sector, facilitating easy compliance with requirements and raising awareness of a risk based approach to health and safety.

Finally, the advisory and enforcement activity of the Health & Safety Authority complements the suite of programmes developed and implemented by the Department of Agriculture. For example, the Farm Safety Scheme 2014-2015 made over €12 million available in grant-aid to improve the standard of safety on Irish farms for a number of specified investment items.