A drive to improve health and safety among farmers in Ireland has been launched by the Health and Safety Authority and Teagasc.
A new Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the two parties, a renewal of a 2005 joint scheme which led to the Farm Health and Safety Code of Practice.
The Joint Initiative will work with the Farm Safety Partnership’s advisory committee, which represents farming organisations and state agencies in promoting farm health and safety.
There is an ongoing trend of fatal accidents on farmland. In 2013, eighteen people were killed on farms while 2,500 serious accidents are estimated to have taken place each year.
Farmers’ general health is thought to be poorer than that of people in other jobs. Professor Gerry Boyle, the director of Teagasc, said that the aim was to encourage positive health and safety behaviour changes among farmers, with follow-up work to help employers and employees keep on track.
Teagasc will use its networks and training schemes to help farmers, and will also use a number of its health and safety projects to assist farmers with implementing health and safety policy, and cutting the incidence of accidents at work.
The Health and Safety Authority’s CEO, Martin O’Halloran, said that the collaboration had proven to be fruitful, and added that research carried out by the body has led to a “better understanding of what influences people’s behaviour” in the lead-up to accidents.
He said that people working on farms should be vigilant to issues of safety, and urged farmers to take time to “assess risks and take corrective action”.
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