Latest figures have indicated that Farm Health and Safety is one of the key challenges facing those who are charged with reducing workplace accidents.
These statistics are from the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive but these they showed that incidents on farms accounted for 11 of the 19 industrial accidents which were fatal in the last year to date.
In the previous year there were a total of 9 farm workplace fatal accidents from the overall total of 18 workplace deaths.
These figures underline that the farm workplace is one the most dangerous across the entire industrial sector not only in Northern Ireland but in the mainland UK as a whole.
The Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland indicated that they had been focusing a high degree of their attention and resources on health and safety on farms and were therefore disappointed with the increasing trend in work related farm accidents and in particular work related fatal farm accidents.
The Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland also indicated that they had set up an initiative entitled the Farm Safety Partnership which had been formally launched by the Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill. This had been launched on May 1st 2012.
The Focus on Health and Safety on Farms was only one of two other public awareness campaigns that sought to minimise workplace accidents. Two other areas had been targeted round the issue of Gas Safety – one on the issue of Carbon Monoxide poisoning and the other seeking to encourage consumers and the general public only to use gas installers who are authorised.
The issue of farm related accidents and fatalities is further accentuated by the downward trend in other types of workplace accident. These were down markedly on the previous year by some 17 per cent and in comparison to an earlier year (2008) by some 30 per cent.
The fact remains that Farm Workplace accidents remain stubbornly entrenched as a major cause of death and injury and this is partly put down to the workplace being less amenable to being tightly controlled and regulated as it tends to be highly dispersed and over a wide area and partly due to the inherently dangerous nature of the type of equipment that must inevitably be used.
The need for a constant re-stating of safety principles and the enforcement of any breaches is a key factor in seeking to avoid this continuing trend both in Northern Ireland and the mainland of the UK.