Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
187. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the work that is underway in relation to farm safety including training and other assistance to farmers in order to help reduce the number of fatal farm accidents and non-fatal accidents each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41562/20]
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA), an agency under the auspices of my Department, has consistently prioritised the farming sector in their annual programme of work. In addition to targeted inspection campaigns the HSA has also, in recent years, through high-profile media and information campaigns, and collaborative efforts with stakeholders, sought to embed a crucial mindset change in the farming community to better embrace farm safety.
In support of this prioritisation, the HSA has in place an extensive farm safety prevention programme, which focusses on the provision of advice, guidance, e-tools and educational supports for the sector, as well as targeted inspection campaigns. The HSA's initiatives and measures aim to increase awareness of the need for safer work practices to help prevent the injuries and fatalities so prevalent in the farming community.
The core of the programme is the user-friendly Farm Safety Code of Practice and half-day training program on the practical application of the Code delivered by the Teagasc advisory service and independent agricultural advisors.
The HSA carries out approximately 2,000 inspections and investigations annually, to assess safety standards on farms and to assess the need for targeted information and guidance for the sector and/or the running of specific safety initiatives.
In addition to routine inspection activity, the HSA also run topic specific Farm Safety campaigns. There are three such campaigns planned for 2021, Livestock in Quarter 1, Tractors & Machinery in Quarter 2 and a campaign in relation to Working at Height planned for Quarter 4. These campaigns will be supported by associated media publicity drives and will include support from other stakeholders through their social media platforms.
In the past few months, the HSA conducted a media campaign designed to promote the farm safety message, particularly regarding tractor and machinery safety, through TV, Radio, Farming Press and social media platforms.
Separately, my colleague Martin Heydon TD., Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development will be introducing an Accelerated Capital Allowances scheme for Farm Safety and Disabilities Adaptation Equipment. This scheme will be administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will provide for the purchase of farm safety equipment which can help prevent farm accidents.