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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Farming safety measures

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which farm safety continues to be a major issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


I thank the Deputy for raising this important topic.  
Farm safety is a major issue and continues to be the most dangerous occupation in terms of fatalities in the workplace, with children and the elderly particularly vulnerable. There has been an average of 20 fatal incidents per year on Irish farms over the last ten years. There was a significant reduction in 2021 when there were 10 fatalities, but unfortunately this year to date, there have been nine fatalities on farms.  All of these fatalities are tragic losses to farm families, the community and the sector. 
Fatal incidents on farms account for nearly 50% of all workplace fatal incidents. Data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) also reveals that there are approximately 4,500 non-fatal incidents each year on Irish farms.  
This Government has prioritised farm safety, health and wellbeing. Reflecting its importance, the Government assigned my ministerial colleague, Martin Heydon, TD specific responsibility for Farm Safety as part of his ministerial portfolio.   
My Department is implementing a series of farm safety, health and wellbeing initiatives in 2022 through dedicated funding of €2.25m. This dedicated funding is increasing to €2.5m for 2023. These initiatives promote farm safety practices and risk awareness and encourage behavioural change around farm safety from a young age, while also supporting those who have been impacted by fatal and non-fatal incidents.   
The measures include the AgriAware Farm Safe Schools initiative, investment in agricultural machinery simulators for use in the agricultural colleges, the Acceleration of Wear and Tear Allowances for Farm Safety Equipment, farm safety training and joint promotional farm safety campaigns with the Health and Safety Authority.   
My Department continues to engage with all stakeholders to improve farm safety, health and wellbeing on our farms. The number of deaths and injuries on Irish farms is too high and we need to continue to take steps to effect behaviour change and ensure that incidents levels are reduced.

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