Farm Workers in Ireland 10 Times More Likely to Die Than General Working Population
Republished with permission from ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
Individuals are 10 times more likely to die working on an Irish farm than in the general working population, an Oireachtas committee has been told.
Martin O'Halloran, chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority, told the agriculture committee recently that the number of farm deaths so far this year had rose to 24, or 60 percent of all workplace deaths to date. (WCxKit)
He said considerable progress had been made in recent years in reducing fatalities but there had been a spike in the number of farm deaths so far this year, from 11 in 2009.
However, the trend was downward and, although no death on a farm or any workplace was acceptable, farm deaths here were not the worst in Europe over the past five years.
Ireland currently ranked in the top five for the lowest rates of farm fatalities behind Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK, and the authority was looking at the systems being used there.
Minister of State for Labor Affairs Dara Calleary sympathized with the family of the most recent victim in the last 24 hours.
He called for a change of culture in farming attitudes towards farm safety.
“We need a collective effort,” Calleary added. “That is why I am here today. Farm safety is an issue that transcends politics. All arms of Government and all arms of the political system have a part to play.”
O'Halloran told Seán Sherlock (Labor) that inspectors had been switched from the construction sector to the farming sector since the recession.
The authority hoped to increase the number of farm inspections from 1,700 last year to 3,000 this year.
North Tipperary TD and former agriculture contractor Noel Coonan (Fine Gael) said inspections put “the fear of God” in farmers and this was not the way to go.
He added that he had once witnessed a death on a farm and did not want to see the like of it again.
O'Halloran said the inspections carried out by the authority were mainly advisory and he defended its work. (WCxKit)
Committee chairman Johnny Brady said the committee intended to liaise regularly with the Health and Safety Authority is to get updates on the initiatives being taken to tackling this “most serious of problems”.
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