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File photo Eamonn Farrell

53% of farm fatalities last year associated with vehicles and machinery

Provisional figures from Teagasc recorded 17 farm deaths in 2018.

FATAL FARM ACCIDENTS have shown a reduction in 2018, with provisional figures from Teagasc recording 17 deaths. 

This is five fewer than the average for the previous five years, according to Teagasc. 

No farm fatality was recorded in the final quarter of 2018. 

53% of fatalities (9) were associated with farm vehicles and machinery. A further 29% of fatalities (5) were associated with livestock. 

The remaining 18% of deaths (3) were caused by a fall from a height, slurry drowning and timber cutting. 

10 of the fatalities happened to people aged 65 or older, with half happening to people aged 75 or older. 

Teagasc health and safety specialist Dr John McNamara has called on farmers to give safety first priority during January and the busy spring period in 2019. 

He said that the risk of farm accidents rises with increased work activity. 

Being struck with a moving vehicle is the most frequent cause of farm deaths on Irish farms, so particular vigilance is needed when they are operating, he said. 

A vehicle moving at fast walking pace covers about two metres per second, so it gives a person in its path little chance to avoid impact, leaving elderly farmers at particular risk, he noted. 

Vigilance is also needed when handling livestock, particularly cows around calving, McNamara added. He advised that a freshly calved cow be securely restrained before administering treatment to their calf. 

McNamara has also advised farmers to be watchful of unstable loads around the farm. As barns empty out, he noted that it’s important to watch out for unstable stacks of hay or straw which could collapse and cause injury. 

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