Ministers Heydon and Richmond launch farm machinery safety awareness campaign

2nd April 2024

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon T.D and Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond T.D. today launched a farm safety awareness campaign focussing on farm vehicles and machinery. 

The joint campaign supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Health and Safety Authority promotes farm safety practices and behavioural change when operating farm vehicles and machinery. 

Over the last ten years there have been 191 farm fatalities of which over half, or 96 people, lost their lives in incidents involving farm vehicles and machinery.  16 of the 17 child fatalities in the same period involved farm vehicles and machinery.  According to the Teagasc National Farm Survey in 2020, approximately 11% of the 4,500 non-fatal incidents on Irish farms each year, involve farm vehicles and machinery, with some resulting in life-changing injuries.

Launching the joint media campaign Minister Heydonsaid:

“Right now farmers are battling difficult weather conditions but these sobering figures highlight the serious safety risks associated with farm vehicles and machinery. Behind each one is a farm, a family, and a community that have been left devastated. In the weeks ahead tractor activity will increase and we need to drive down the unacceptably high number of fatalities involving farm vehicles and machinery. It is incumbent on everyone involved in farming to act now by taking the practical steps necessary to prevent any loss of life or injury when using farm machinery.” 

Minister Neale Richmond T.D. stated:

“The needless loss of life on our farms is an ongoing tragedy. Farmers must take safety on their farms seriously and take common sense actions to protect themselves and their families. Tractors and farm machinery pose well-known dangers that must be addressed. No job is so important or urgent that a person’s life is put in danger or harm’s way. Plan ahead, get help where needed and don’t take short cuts, it’s just not worth it.”

Conor O'Brien, CEO, Heath Safety Authority stated:

The evidence is clear, farm machinery and tractors are the leading cause of fatalities and injuries on our farms. Many of these incidents are caused by poor maintenance and upkeep so make sure your machinery is in good working order, particularly brakes and mirrors. Only competent users with proper training should operate farm machinery, and please keep family members and visitors well away. HSA inspectors will be undertaking a nationwide farm inspection blitz over the coming weeks to support this campaign and help farmers understand and address the issues.”