Half of workplace deaths are on farms, Louth Senator told online farm safety meeting

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Half of workplace deaths are on farms, Louth Senator told online farm safety meeting

Fatal accidents on farms account for nearly 50% of all workplace fatal incidents each year, despite farms only accounting for 6% of the workforce, according to Fine Gael Senator John McGahon.

Senator McGahon was speaking during an online webinar on Farm Safety and CAP which he organised for members of the farming community in County Louth.

The online meeting was addressed by Martin Heydon Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture with responsibility for Farm Safety, Research and Development and New Market Development and Colm Markey MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Speaking after the meeting, Senator McGahon said: “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.

"The level of safety incidents, many of them fatal, we are seeing on farms across the country is unacceptably high.

"Our online event was a great opportunity for members of Louth’s farming community to engage with Minister Heydon and Colm Markey MEP on farm safety, CAP and a whole host of other issues."

Colm Markey MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee said: “Senator McGahon and Minister Heydon must be commended for their efforts to promote farm safety and reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our farms. 

"I was also pleased to have the opportunity to update farmers on the negotiations around the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package and provide clarity on aspects of the proposals.

"I look forward to engaging further with farmers in County Louth and across the Midlands North West constituency on this issue in the months and years ahead.

"The area of farm safety is one that can’t be talked about enough, so I was delighted to debate this and my new initiatives for farm safety measures from accelerated capital allowances to enhanced training programmes, to help drive down the unacceptably high level of farm fatalities on Irish farms.

"Senator McGahon’s meeting also allowed me the opportunity to engage with Louth farmers on the challenges and opportunities that they face as well as a discussion on the importance of trade for Irish Agri food producers,” stated the Minister Martin Heydon.