Dáil Éireann - Volume 561 - 13 February, 2003
Written Answers. - Farm Safety.
Mr. M. Higgins Mr. M. Higgins
15. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of fatalities on farms in 2002; if he has new proposals to curb the number of fatalities on farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3873/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
 Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I am concerned with the level of safety on our farms. Over the past ten years the number of people killed on farms remains unacceptably high. According to statistics available from the Health and Safety Authority there were 13 deaths as a result of accidents on farms in 2002. This figure shows a 46% decrease in the numbers for 2001. While there has been a marked improvement in the situation it is imperative that all farmers acknowledge that farming is a hazardous occupation and one that carries specific risks to themselves, their workers and their families. All necessary steps to minimise the risks must be taken. My Department has been involved in a number of initiatives with a view to reducing the risk to farmers, farm workers and their families. In 2002 a health and safety module was added to the mandatory 20 hour training course for all participants of REPS 2. The building specifications for all new Department approved farm building programs have been updated to take account of the most up to date health and safety requirements. In February 2002 the “Farm Safety Action Group” representative of a wide range of organisations, including my Department, was established by the Health and Safety Authority. The role of this group is to progress the matter of farm safety and, specifically, to identify and prioritise the key issues related to improving safety on farms; to detail the actions necessary to deal with the issues identified; to develop a national action programme, co-ordinating the actions of the representative organisations and assigning tasks; to publicise, effect and monitor the programme; to carry out appropriate research and liaise with relevant agriculture organisations; and to report regularly, and formally at least quarterly, to the board of the authority. The action plan is being finalised at present and will be published this spring.
Dáil Éireann 561 Written Answers. Farm Safety.