For all of us here at Urparts we believe that having a safe workplace especially in areas with a lot of potentially dangerous machinery and merchandise should form a key part of work. Nothing can compensate for the loss of a limb or an eye or most importantly life and with over 50 people having died last year in the workplace in Ireland, safety should never be overlooked. One of the most dangerous of workplaces recorded annually is surprising the agriculture sector.
For some industries such as construction there are clear dangers highlighted every day, but it is lesser known work environments that run higher risks with one of the worst offenders being the agriculture/farming sector. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland, and one that results in a huge amount of fatalities each year. Farming fatalities are usually the highest or joint highest each year, with the sector already having six deaths to its tally this year alone. In 2010 alone it was noted that agriculture combined with forestry accounted for 25 out of 48 of all workplace fatalities in Ireland. As well as fatalities recorded, there were many more life-changing injuries incurred on a farm, the vast majority of which are preventable.
The high risk and fatality rate in farming is down to many reasons. Because of the nature of their work farmers regularly operate dangerous equipment and machinery as well as deal with unpredictable and dangerous animals, often alone meaning help is not always close at hand should accidents occur. The huge number of risks involved in farm work, have recently been brought to public attention by the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) who have uploaded six testimonies of farmers sharing their own farm accident stories (which ranged from PTO shaft entanglement to livestock attacks) to their official website to help raise awareness and prevent any future accidents and deaths.
With agriculture traditionally being a cornerstone of the Irish economy, official figures indicate up to 120,000 employed in this sector and with family members included up 400,000 people are exposed to risk daily, improving health and safety in this important and overlooked industry is of paramount importance.