The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has launched a high-profile drive to improve health and safety on farms in the province after it revealed an “unprecedented” rise in the number of deaths reported last year.
Latest figures have suggested that a farmer was killed each month last year while at work. The most recent incident involved a farm worker that was killed in February while attempting to change a wheel on a slurry tanker following a puncture.
The farm worker was in the process of changing the wheel using a bottle jack and blocks of wood as props to support the slurry tanker when it overturned and crushed him to death.
As a result, the HSENI said that during February and March it would be focusing its attention on farm safety through a special “Help Initiative”.
This would entail HSENI staff visiting farms and speaking directly with farmers and their families about how they can ensure their safety and help prevent injury and death.
A TV advertising campaign is also running on the local UTV television channel.
More widely, the Health and Safety Executive has estimated that, on average, between 40 and 50 workers are killed on British farms every year, despite there being less than 1.5% of the population working in the industry.
This is the equivalent of nearly one person per week, giving the industry a higher death rate than traditional “black spots” such as construction or manufacturing.