Government must renew efforts to promote farm safety – Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Government to renew its efforts in promoting safe practice on farms. He made the call during Farm Safety Week.

Farming continues to be the most dangerous occupation in Ireland. Official figures from the HSE show that there were 18 deaths in the agriculture sector last year. Great strides have been made in reducing the number of farm accidents in recent years, but it’s clear that we still have a long way to go when it comes to promoting safe practices,” said Deputy Smith.

“Farms are dangerous by their very nature due to the presence of machinery, and children are particularly vulnerable to serious injury. Farmers and their families are also at risk of being injured by livestock and falling from dangerous heights. These are the three main risks which farmers have to overcome on a daily basis. There needs to be a greater awareness of these risks amongst the farming community, and the Government has a role to play in facilitating safer farm practices.

“One problem that has been on the rise in recent years is the dangers faced by farmers when moving livestock, particularly when their land straddles roads as is the case for many farmers across Cavan and Monaghan. These roads have become busier and farmers are now finding it difficult to move livestock in a safe manner.

“Fianna Fáil recently raised this issue in the Dáil and asked the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed how much funding is available to farmers to construct an underpass so that they can avoid these dangers. Unfortunately the Minister said that no funding is available and that he has no intention of providing such funding in the future. This needs to be revisited.

“Fianna Fáil believes more can be done to promote farm safety through education campaigns and the provision of financial assistance to help farmers eliminate hazards in their workplace. The Department of Agriculture should also provide expert advice to farmers on how they can go about carrying out an in-depth safety audit of their farm. If farmers are aware of the dangers in their surroundings then they can take action to eliminate these risks”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.

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