FARMING in Ireland has been named as the job with the highest numbers of risks and fatalities.
In a report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the rate of fatalities amongst farmers is nearly 10 times the average across all occupations.
In the last seven years, 138 people have been killed in farm accidents in Ireland.
The report, Risk Taking and Accidents on Irish Farms, examines a number of different types of risks farmers take based on a survey of 800 self-employed male farmers.
The study of the farmers discovered almost one third of farmers did not get help with difficult jobs, while a quarter did not use safety gear such as goggles, ear defenders or high viz vests.
Other risks on the farm included not using machine guards or checking machinery before use, as well as not using restraining or handling facilities when treating animals.
The study also found that unmarried farmers were more likely to take risks in not checking machinery before use.
Of the 12 per cent of farmers surveyed who had experienced an accident while working, only half implemented changes to prevent a reoccurrence.
'Understanding mindset of farmers'
Author of the report, Dorothy Watson, said: "Farm safety is a critical issue. In the last seven years, 138 people have been killed in farm accidents, making farming the most dangerous occupation in terms of fatalities.
"The results of this report highlight the significance of getting help with difficult jobs and checking machinery in reducing the risk of accidents in farming.
"Future policies should emphasise the importance of getting help with difficult tasks on the farm, as the research indicated that failing to do so is associated with a higher risk of accidents and near misses.”
Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the HSA, stated: “This research is important because it helps us to develop a deeper understanding of the mindset of farmers and why unsafe practices are occurring.
"Once we understand what triggers risk-taking on farms we can implement strategies that are appropriate, for the industry, and will bring about a sustained reduction in accidents.”