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PTO Shaft Information Note
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Handling facilities
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Fatal Accidents
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Fatal Accidents
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Manual Handling
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The Law
Code of Practice
Strategic Alliances
Fatal Accidents
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deaths by type 04-13

See the second series of Survivor Stories videos and the Older Farmer videos


  • There's an electronic Risk Assessment available to use as part of the Code of Practice
  • Prepare and implement a Safety Statement
  • If 3 or less people work on the farm, the Code of Practice meets the Safety Statement requirement
  • Plan work to make sure it can be done safely
  • Check machinery and equipment before use
  • Communicate with family, workers and contractors to make sure that tasks and safeguards are understood
  • Train persons to operate tractors and machinery and complete jobs safely
  • Assess and control risks to children and persons with slower reaction times. Do not allow children unsupervised access to the farmyard

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The Law

The 2005 Act requires

  • a safe place of work which includes the farmyard and buildings
  • safe working practices and procedures
  • safe equipment and machinery
  • a safe way in and out of the farmyard and other places of work, including farm buildings
  • information and training for workers
  • personal protective equipment where necessary
  • a safe system for the storage, handling and use of articles and substances
  • adequate toilet and washing facilities
Law book

Self-employed farmers have similar duties to employers. Farmers must conduct their operations in such a manner so as not to put persons at risk (e.g. visitors, especially children and contractors)

Farmers must notify any work accident which prevents anyone carrying out their normal duties for more than three calendar days. Specified dangerous occurrences such as fires, explosions and chemical spillages must also be notified

Farm workers must

  • take care of themselves and others
  • co-operate with their employers
  • use any personal protective equipment provided
  • not misuse or interfere with anything provided for their safety
  • report any hazards they become aware of
  • consult with their employer on matters of safety and health
  • take account of any training and instruction which they have been given

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Relevant Legislation

The safety, health and welfare of farmers and their workers are secured by the following legislation

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Safety statement requirements

  • A farmer is required by law to prepare a Safety Statement in writing and consult employees on its contents. He/she must specify how these risks are to be controlled. A farmer's Safety Statement must set out the arrangements and resources provided
  • The 2005 Act allows certain employers (including farmers) with three or less employees to comply with the terms of a Code of Practice as an alternative to preparing a SafetyStatement
  • The Safety Statement must be made available to all employees on the farm
  • The Safety Statement contents of the must be brought to the attention of any people who may be at risk
  • Staff responsible for safety tasks must be named in the Safety Statement
Safety statement
  • An Inspector from the Health and Safety Authority may examine your Safety Statement. If it is inadequate, the Inspector can direct you to revise it within 30 days.

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A specialist group of Inspectors exist for inspection of the Agriculture sector. Inspection campaigns over recent years have found that levels of compliance in the sector are slowly increasing. However, the sector continues to experience a disproportionately high level of fatal accidents.

In 2011 the HSA carried out 3,000 farm inspections. During those inspections Notices were issued.

  • An Improvement Notice is a legal directive from an Inspector requiring that certain improvements be carried out in a specified time-frame
  • A Prohibition Notice is a legal instruction directing that a specified work activity be stopped due to the level of danger

Inspectors of the Authority have power to enter any place of work at any reasonable time. Further details of what to expect are available on our website.

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Code of Practice

  • The 2005 Act allows employers (including most farmers) with three or less employees to comply with the terms of a Code of Practice as an alternative to preparing a written Safety Statement
  • The Code of Practice for Agriculture includes a Risk Assessment Document and a Safe System of Work Plan (SWWP)
  • It provides practical user-friendly guidance with respect to farmers, family members, employees, service providers, advisers, trainers and persons with a role related to safety and health
  • It sets out clearly the major risks in farming and provides a simple approach through the risk assessment document to managing safety at farm level

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Online Risk Assessment

See the Online Risk Assessment Tool Video Guide

If you have 3 or less people working on your farm you can use the Farm Safety Code of Practice to comply with your legal requirement to have a Safety Statement.

This electronic version of the Risk Assessment document allows you to fill in and save the risk assessment electronically. It will store your risk assessment which you can look at and update at any time by logging onto If you have to log out before you complete the risk assessment your work will be saved and it will bring you back to the same stage when you log back in. When complete and you set out what you need to take action on you can print out your farm safety action plan.

Online risk assessment tool video

This electronic risk Assessment Tool will not be used by the Authority to plan inspections.

The online risk assessment contains an Introduction, Nine sections and an Action list. Each section contains some information about hazards and risks on the farm and statistics on farming accidents. You should read the information at the start of each section before attempting the risk assessment. Following this you will find a risk assessment in the form of a list of questions on that hazard on your farm and some initial safety controls you should put in place. Consider each control and see if it is applicable to the hazard. Finally, you should add any additional controls that you see as appropriate on your farm

This electronic risk assessment has several advantages

  • You can find your Code of Practice Risk Assessment easily
  • It maintains a record of when you did your risk assessments
  • You can plan and print out your safety action list
  • You will get e-mails reminding you of actions you need to take and when you need to do your annual risk assessment review
  • You can get safety alerts

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Strategic Alliances

The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee was established to involve all industry stakeholders in improving occupational safety and health in Agriculture. This Committee supports and coordinates the majority of research and promotional activities in relation to farm safety. The work of the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee is set out in the Farm Safety Action Plan 2013-2015. The goals of the Farm Safety Action Plan are

  1. To raise national awareness of occupational safety and health in agriculture
  2. To increase the uptake of training on farm safety and occupational health
  3. To achieve a reduction in the incidence of fatal accidents to elderly farmers
  4. To achieve a reduction in the incidence of fatal accidents to children
  5. To achieve a reduction in the incidence of accidents involving livestock
  6. To achieve a reduction in the incidence of accidents involving tractors and machinery
  7. To achieve improvements in the level of occupational ill health among farmers


Teagasc and the Authority have established a Joint Prevention Initiative to

  • Develop, implement and evaluate the Agriculture Code of Practice
  • Establish and deliver half day training courses for farmers on completing the Agriculture Code of Practice
  • Organise National seminars/conferences on Farm Safety and Health
  • Organise joint Research projects on aspects of Farm Safety and Health

The Authority and ESB Networks work together on workplace safety issues.

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Training is an essential part of ensuring that all farm and forestry workers are competent to perform their work. See a complete list of Health and Safety Training courses for the sector.

  • Additional information on tree surgery and arboriculture can be obtained from the UK Health & Safety Executive’s website
  • RBAI provides a 1 day Health and Safety Training course for the Veterinary and Veterinary nursing professions

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Older Farmers Videos

In recent years someone has died every two weeks in an accident on an Irish farm. Accidents involving farmers over 55 years of age often account for 70% of farm deaths. In an effort to reverse this trend, and focus attention on age as a risk factor, the HSA and the IFA have jointly produced videos entitled “Older, Wiser, Safer – A Practical Guide toSafety for Older Farmers.

Part 1In recent years someone has died every two weeks in an accident on an Irish farm (2 minutes, 42 seconds)
Part 2Consider your health status as a risk factor (4 minutes, 3 seconds)
Part 3Consider how to manage Tractor & Machinery safety (3 minutes, 12 seconds)
Part 4Livestock are unpredictable, consider how to protect yourself (2 minutes, 54 seconds)
Part 5Consider your limitations before working at height or with slurry (1 minutes, 56 seconds)
Part 6Older farmers can work into later years safely, learn how to protect yourself (2 minutes, 10 seconds)

Survivor Story Videos

Six farmers share their farm accident stories, from PTO shaft entanglement to livestock attack.

Survivor stories

Their hope is that you can learn from their experiences and take the simple steps that will make your farm safer. Viewer discretion is advised.

James' storyJames talks about the loss of his father to a bull attack (5 minutes, 47 seconds)
Peter's storyPeter talks about and shows his injuries from an unguarded PTO shaft (5 minutes)
Sean's storySean talks about and shows the injuries received when a combine harvester fell on him (5 minutes, 10 seconds)
Sean's storySean talks about the suffering and injuries he received when a bale of hay fell on him (4 minutes, 50 seconds)
David's storyDavid talks about how the tractor he was driving ran over him leaving him in a wheelchair (5 minutes, 16 seconds)
Dominic'sstoryDominic talks about the impact on him and his family following a cow attack (5 minutes, 17 seconds)

Survivor Stories Series 2 Videos

Liam’s StoryLiam talks about how he was attacked by a bull on his farm (5 minutes, 24 seconds)
Aaron's StoryAaron talks about the injuries he received in a tractor accident (4 minutes, 11 seconds)
Anthony’sStoryAnthony talks about how he lost his leg when was entangled in a grain auger (5 minutes, 5 seconds)
Eoin’s StoryEoin talks about how he was overcome by slurry gas when he was agitating slurry on his farm (5 minutes, 3 seconds)
Pat’s StoryPat talks about his back injury and the effects of this injury on his farming life (4 minutes, 16 seconds)


Safe Handling of Cattle Videos

Guidance on the Safe Handling of Cattle on Farms (Videos) will help you consider and develop your skill levels in cattle handling. Good practice in these videos and a greater understanding of cattle behaviour will help reduce accidents and risk of injury.

Farm Safe Videos

The following videos provide advice on various topics as shown.

IntroductionLegal advice, viewer discretion advisory and acknowledgements (47 Second video)
BehaviourVictims describe their accidents and insurance is discussed.(5 Minute 6 Second video)
BuildingsTopics include buildings, building work and maintenance, including work at height. (4 Minute 55 second video)
BullTestimonialFarmer Sean Treacy remembers the bull attack that left him seriously injured.(1 Minute 55 Second video)
ChainsawsTopics include operators, chainsaws, PPE, environment, kickback precautions.(5 Minutes 36 Second video)
ChemicalsTopics include Safety Data Sheets, storage, packaging and labels, spraying. (7 minutes 27 Second video).NOTE: For the latest labelling information, visit
ChildTestimonialBrian and Patrick Phelan discuss Brian's PTO accident and his injuries. (2 Minutes 35 Second video)
ChildrenTopics include fatal accident analysis, Code of Practice, risk assessment, machinery, danger areas.(8 Minute video)
ElectricityTopics include works by unqualified persons, equipment, tools, RCD, electric fences, power lines, vehicles. (11 Minutes 10 Second video)
HealthTopics include farmer's lung, asbestos, noise, diseases, environment. (7 Minutes 5 Second video)
LegislationTopics include legal approach, the Act and Regulations, responsibilities, Safety Statement, Risk Assessment Document. (5 Minutes 26 Second video)
LivestockTopics include handling facilities, driving animals, the bull. (6 Minutes 49 Second video)
MachineryTopics include trap and pinch points, crush points, pull in points, shear and cutting points, burn points, stored energy, thrown objects, guards and signs, safe operators. (10 Minutes 32 Second video)
ManualHandlingTopics include how the back works, manual handling technique, manual handling guide. (3 Minutes 48 Second video)
PTOTestimonialFarmer John Goff recalls how he lost his arm in a PTO shaft accident.(1 Minute 53 Second video)
RoofTestimonialAgricultural contractor Stanley Scanlan remembers how he was seriously injured when he fell just 9 feet through a skylight. (1 Minute 59 Second video)
SlurryTopics include drowning, gassing, agitating, grants.(4 Minute 15 Second video)
TractorsTopics include tractor operations, driving, hitching, machine operations, overturning, maintenance, ATV's.(8 Minutes 43 Second video)
TrafficTopics include brakes, lighting, weights, length and width, supplier obligations, Roads Act 1993, driver's license, insurance. (6 Minutes 38 Second video)
WorkshopTopics include construction, signs, fire safety, electricity, PPE, burn points, power tools, lifting equipment, welding, compressed air/tyres. (11 Minutes video)

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Fatal Accidents

deaths by type 04-13

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Irish economy.

The fatality rate in agriculture is far higher than any other economic sector.  A large proportion of all fatal workplace accidents occur in agriculture, even though a small proportion of the workforce is employed in farming. The level of farm accidents is not decreasing. Similar accidents occur each year. Research indicates that, in general, farmers’ attitudes to safety only change after serious injury occurs.

The age profile of those killed is of serious concern. The old and the young are exceptionally vulnerable to death and injury on Irish farms. In this video, James talks about the loss of his father in a bull attack (5 minutes, 47 seconds).

Check Fatal and non-fatal accident statistics in the sector.

Fatal Agriculture Accidents 2004 - 2013

vehicle fatals 04-13machinery fatals 04-13falls fatals 04-13livestock fatals 04-13
child fatals 04-13older fatals 04-13fatals by age 04-13deaths by type 04-13

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For Further Information

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