According to figures released today, elderly farmers are the most vulnerable group when it comes to fatal work related accidents.
The Health and Safety Authority says that a total of 47 fatal work related accidents took place in 2017, which is one more than 46 in 2016.
Of the 47 fatal accidents, 14 were male farmers aged over 65.
The agriculture sector is statistically the most dangerous, with 24 deaths being recorded. One of these deaths involved a child.
This is the eighth year in a row that this sector has recorded the highest number of work related fatalities.
HSA Chief Executive, Martin O’Halloran, says that a collective effort is required to reduce the high level of farm accidents.
“Everyone involved in farming must aim to make whatever changes are necessary, to work practices, to stop these accidents occurring each year. That means safety must be paramount when carrying out any work, especially with tractors or farm machinery.”
Elderly farmers particularly are at risk, and O’Halloran says that many of these men had been working alone when the accident occurred.
“We have seen fourteen elderly farmers killed this year, many of them working alone at the time of the accident.
“Finding supports for elderly farmers or farmers working alone is something that needs to be addressed. The Health and Safety Authority will continue to do its part through inspection, awareness raising and education but safe farming has to happen every day, not just after an inspection.
“We need to make this a fundamental part of farming culture, until it is we will continue to have devastation and carnage on our farms.”
The construction and transport sectors had the next highest number of fatalities with six each.
Across all sectors, accidents involving vehicles accounted for 21 of all fatalities in 2017.
O’Halloran says that safe systems of work must be implemented, particularly in environments in which vehicles are used.
“We have over 2 million people at work and this is a positive development. However, this will lead to increased traffic and movement of vehicles in workplaces creating hazards that must be managed.
“Regardless of the sector, where we have people and vehicles moving in close proximity, the danger is elevated. These dangers are greatly reduced when everyone is aware of the hazards and safe systems of work are implemented.”
Falls from height (six) was the next most common cause of death at the workplace.
Most fatalities (28) involved 18-65 years old males; there were 14 men over 65 killed in the agriculture sector.
Dublin Cork and Mayo were the counties with the highest number of fatalities in 2017, with six each.
Of 47 fatalities reported, 18 were self-employed persons, 15 were employees, seven non-workers and seven family workers.
The youngest person to be killed in an accident was one year old, whereas the eldest was 94.
None of these fatalities took place in County Donegal.Tags: