Farm Accidents - Education and Training Key to Prevention

The number of accidents on farms in Ireland, proportionately far outweigh those in other workplaces. What can to be done to reduce the risk and what are the options open to you if you've suffered personal injury while working in the agriculture sector?

Farm Accident Numbers Not Reducing

In recent years, there have been further increases in the number of farm accidents in Ireland. In 2018 Teagasc reported that incidents had risen by 15% in five years and by almost 30% over the last decade. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, over 2,800 accidents were reported. One positive aspect was the dramatic reduction in the numbers of trips and falls, however accidents involving livestock and machinery continue to rise. Tragically 24 fatalities occured in farms in 2017. Farm vehicle accidents have more than doubled in recent years and farmers' organisations and government agencies alike have been working to increase safety awareness and education.

In Ireland, farm accidents are most likely to occur in the farmyard, followed by farm buildings and fields. Few accidents occur in farm roadways or lanes, so it would appear that the yard still poses the biggest challenge in terms of health and safety. 

Farm Safety Measures

The Health and Safety Authority reports that tractors and farm machinery are most likely to be involved when fatal accidents occur, accounting for nearly half of all farm deaths. Training, maintenance and education are key to prevention. Farm safety measures designed to keep an eye on those most vulnerable on the farm are essential. 

  • Farm safety education needs to start at a a very young age. Children are vulnerable on farms. They need to see the adults around them view safety as their number one priority. Re-inforcing safety rules for children can help protect them. They also need to see parents and other adults follow the rules that they pass on to children. 
  • Older farmers are particularly at risk; unfortunately we see them in accident figures far too often. Supporting older people in farming, by helping with maintenance and being present when certain tasks are being untaken can help reduce injury, without reducing independence.
  • Advance planning is vital in farm safety. Farmers are under huge pressure at various times of the year and unexpected weather events or other factors can mean that crucial work may have to be done, with little notice. Plan for urgent situations. Have an emergency plan, which still takes safety into account.
  • Training should be seen as a given for every person working on a farm, whether they are the main farmer, family or employee. Never assume a family member knows the correct way to do things, because they've seen it done. They and any farm employees,need to be brought through step by step, before attempting any job on the farm. Keep a safety checklist and set of rules. Make sure your farm safety statement or risk assessment documentation is up to date. Review your training on a regular basis. 
  • Only people qualified to do so should drive tractors or operate farm machinery. Be aware of the age limits on farms and roadways for tractor use. Farming is a family business for over 137,000 farms in Ireland, so despite the huge pressure faced, always remember to put your family's safety before anything else. 
  • Have a maintenance programme set out for all farm equipment, vehicles and machinery. Keep to it.

Your Health Comes First

Anyone who is invovled in farming knows that it takes huge commitment, energy and time. There is isn't really such a thing as part-time farming. Even if you have another full time job, the farm is part of your DNA and plays a massive part in your life. Remember that you need to look after your health and wellbeing. Even farmers need sleep. Farm staff or workers need breaks. You also need to make sure that you take care of your stress levels and that you keep an eye on your mental health. Tiredness, stress and pressure can contribute to accidents.

Farm Accidents and Personal Injury

Farm safety is about protecting lives and preventing accidents. It's vital to ensure that staff or family are trained to be on the farm, from farmyard safety to proper training with machinery, livestock or hazardous substance use. From first aid training to managing time, it's a farmers responsbility to make sure people entering, living or working on the farm are trained, protected, supervised or managed correctly.

When accidents do occur, there can be issues around negligence or inaction by farm managers or owners. It is up to them to provide a safe working environment for everyone. If you have been involved in an accident on a farm, due to the action or inaction of someone else, it is possible that you may have grounds to make a personal injury claim. If, tragically, a loved one has died following a farm accident, you may be in a position to pursue a fatal injury claim as a dependant. At PILAR we give expert, honest and transparent advice about your situation.

About PILAR

PILAR is a network of law firms founded by Mary Flanagan, Niamh Moran and Anthony Carmody, Solicitors. Together, we form a skilled group of lawyers who have joined forces to provide a specialist offering in catastrophic personal injury* and litigation cases, including those relating to injury or fatality caused by farm accidents.

You can call us on 01 2943846 to discuss your case in confidence . You can also contact us by our easy to use form on our homepage.

 

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