Farm Safety Week: Statistics, slight increase in fatalities

As part of this years Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are reminding farmers to use best practice during their everyday routine in the farmyard
As part of this years Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are reminding farmers to use best practice during their everyday routine in the farmyard

As part of this year’s Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are reminding farmers to use best practice during their everyday routine in the farmyard.

From tractor accidents to animal attacks, farming still kills and injures more people than any other industry in the UK and Ireland.

Despite fatalities in Northern Ireland’s agriculture sector decreasing by nearly 50% since the horrendous years of 2011 and 2012, where there where12 fatalities each year, the sector remains a key focus of the Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership.

While HSENI has confidence in the number of fatal injuries recorded, it is generally recognised that there is a significant degree of under-reporting of incidents in other categories, particularly in agriculture where the vast majority of workers are self-employed.

Worryingly, statistics from a 2015 survey of Northern Ireland farmers suggests that there could be as many as 100 incidents per month on farms which require hospital treatment. At this level, it is sadly unsurprising that some of the more serious incidents can result in life changing injury or death.

For 2018 the following were the fatalities in the farming community:

● 8 fatalities in the agricultural sector – 1 more than the previous year

- Breakdown of cause of fatalities:

● Animals 4

● Falls 1

● Machinery 2

● Other 1

Malcolm Downey, principal inspector HSENI, said: “Farming and food production play a crucial role in the life and economy of Northern Ireland. But every year we have to reluctantly report that agriculture has the poorest safety record of any occupation here.

“All too often accidents happen on our farms which are preventable, so we want to continue to raise awareness for everyone working on, or visiting, a working farm. HSENI is committed to work with our partners on the NI Farm Safety Partnership and the Farm Safety Foundation on initiatives like Farm Safety Week to inform their activities and drive forward improvements in safety performance. We know that we need to engage with farmers of all ages to tackle this poor safety record and make farms safer places to work.”

For more information on Farm Safety Week visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek