Farm fatalities unacceptably high in 2020

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The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with Special Responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon, has highlighted the significant number of fatalities on Irish farms in 2020 as a result of workplace incidents.

There were 19 fatal incidents on farms in 2020, with three of these being children under the age of 18, and nine being farmers aged 65 or more. This follows 25 fatalities in 2017, 15 in 2018 and 19 in 2019.

Minister Heydon said “The level of safety incidents, many of them fatal, we are seeing on farms across the country is unacceptably high. Farming accounts for nearly 50% of all workplace fatal incidents, despite accounting for only 6% of the workforce.

“That’s why I am appealing to everyone, as they wish farmers a Happy New Year, to also take the time to ask them to be safe on their farm.”

He added, “2021 needs to be the year when farmers put their own safety first; we cannot continue to see the level of fatalities we have seen in recent years. 214 people tragically lost their lives on farms between 2010 and 2019 and this is simply not acceptable.

“As the first ever Minister to be given specific responsibility for Farm Safety, I am working to ensure that safety is at the heart of everything we do on our farms and I am determined to deliver lasting change that will drive down the current level of safety incidents.”

He noted that in recent months he has launched a number of initiatives including the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme, which I brought forward together with Minister Donohoe, which will make essential farm safety investments more accessible to farmers.