Farmer Health

The principal causes of ill health were associated with manual handling, lung problems, infections and noise. Of farmers with occupational ill health, 50% suffer from chronic back pain. Regarding personal health, farmers have been identified as a group with a poor personal health profile (O’Shea, 1997). Male farmers between the ages of 15 and 64 have a death rate much higher than that of most other workers.

  • Avoid slips and trips by keeping the farmyard and farm buildings tidy at all times. Provide adequate lighting in the farmyard and buildings
  • Dampen down dust with water where possible, before sweeping up
  • Always cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof plaster or dressing to avoid infection
  • Put a vermin control programme in place on your farm.
  • Provide suitable washing and toilet facilities on your farm
  • Protect your skin from the sun by minimising exposure around midday, wearing long- sleeved shirts and hats, and applying sun creams. Wear a hat and light clothing in sunny weather to avoid sun burn. Apply a high factor sunscreen to the skin particularly if you are working outdoors
  • Have a regular health check to monitor your general health and physical well-being
  • Regular checks can identify and start appropriate treatments for health issues early
  • Discuss your concerns with a close friend, family member or health professional. If stressed or anxious always seek help through your family or G.P.
  • It is important to recognise signs of stress and seek professional help
  • Give your health adequate attention


Lung Problems

  • Avoid exposure to spores by keeping buildings well ventilated
  • An effective way to reduce the level of dust or spores is to damp down the source
  • An added precaution is to wear a suitable mask, to the European Standard


A range of serious illnesses can be caught from animals and contaminated materials. There are over 20 such diseases in this country, including brucellosis, tuberculosis, tetanus, Weil's disease and toxoplasmosis. For further information see here.


  • If it is necessary to communicate by shouting at another person at a distance of two metres, the noise level is likely to be above the legal action level of 85 decibels (dB (A)).
  • The best way to solve a noise problem is to identify the source and reduce either the noise level or exposure time as much as possible
  • Purchase equipment with low noise levels
  • Keep tractor doors shut and maintain silencers on equipment such as tractors or chainsaws
  • Isolate or enclose equipment with noise above 85 decibels
  • Use mechanical or automatic feeding systems to reduce the need to enter pig or poultry houses during feeding
  • Move away from the noise source
  • Ear defenders must be worn if the noise level remains above 80 decibels