Farm deaths most common workplace accident

The scene were 10 year-old Aaron Macauley tragically lost his life on the family farm at Dechomet
The scene were 10 year-old Aaron Macauley tragically lost his life on the family farm at Dechomet
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Farm safety continues to be the biggest challenge facing those charged with reducing accidents in the workplace, latest figures have revealed.

Farming incidents accounted for 11 of the 19 industrial accident fatalities last year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI). The previous year there were nine farm fatalities from a total of 18 workplace deaths.

Outlining the key findings of their annual report, HSENI chief executive Keith Morrison yesterday said: “This year saw HSENI focus much of its attention and resources on farm safety as a result of seeing an increasing trend in work-related farm fatalities in recent years.

“Key to this focus was the establishment of a Farm Safety Partnership, which was formally launched by Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill on May 1, 2012.”

The report also highlights the success of two public awareness campaigns that focused on gas safety – one to raise awareness of carbon monoxide, and a second to encourage the use of registered gas installers.

A continuing downward trend of all reportable work-related injuries is also highlighted – as well as a sharp fall in major injuries, with reports down 17 per cent on the previous year and down almost 30 per cent since 2008/09.

George Lucas, of the HSENI’s Farm Safety Partnership, said: “I am satisfied with our record for the year. However, the continuing high level of deaths, particularly among the farming community, illustrates the need for HSENI to be constantly innovative and challenging.”