There has been a 70% increase in farm accident related deaths for the first 5 months of 2014 with thirteen farm workplace deaths have taken place in this period according to Teagasc.

It is against this background that a major Farm Safety and Health Exhibit took place at the Teagasc Beef 2014 event in Grange, County Meath.

A Farm Safety ‘Call for Action’ poster was launched at the event by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD. Also present to support the initiative were Prof Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director, Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, Eddie Downey, President of IFA, Kieran O’Dowd, President of Macra Na Feirme and Maura Canning, Chairperson IFA Farm Family Committee.

Teagasc Health and Safety Officer, John McNamara said: “At the safety exhibit we had an ideal opportunity to positively engage and influence high numbers of farmers regarding practical safety implementation and provide research based knowledge on a wide range of farm safety topics.”

The Health and Safety Exhibit at ‘Beef 2014’ included:

– Vehicle and machinery displays
– Slurry Handling and Gas Safety
– Farmyard design and buildings safety issues
– Precautions to be taken when accessing heights
– Safety with livestock including newly designed cow-calving facilities for safety.

Health and Safety Authority staff were also present to discuss the implementation of the Farm Safety Risk Assessment.

The exhibit also focused on health. Recent research found that farmers are 5 times more likely to die in the age category up to 65 years than in other occupations. Circulatory conditions, cancers and accidents are the main causes. The exhibit also focused on the prevention of spinal injuries, as over 30% of farmers suffer from this debilitating condition.