The allocation of funding for the Health and Authority in 2020 has yet to be finalised but the Deputy can be assured that within its allocation the Health and Safety Authority will continue to focus on the agricultural sector in its efforts to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.
In relation to 2019, the Health and Safety Authority, at this stage, anticipates that the overall expenditure on specific agricultural sector initiatives will be approximately €488,500 with over €400,000 spent to-date (some of this expenditure includes some cross-sectoral initiatives).
This funding has enabled the roll-out of a number of the initiatives, which involved the organisation of, participation in, or support of a range of agriculture related events such as the National Ploughing Championship and the Tullamore Show as well as media coverage which included the roll out of new TV and Radio advertisements. This is in addition to two targeted media campaigns to raise awareness of key farm risks, with both a national and a local focus and three focused inspection campaigns. The first campaign focused on Livestock Handling, the second campaign was on Farm Tractor & Vehicle Safety and the third focused on Working at Height and Maintenance.
In addition to these specific farm safety campaigns or initiatives, visits to farms involve routine unannounced inspections to monitor compliance within a range health and safety regulations and to investigate farm accidents
The priority tasks for the Authority in relation to engagement with the farming sector for 2019 include:
- Continuing awareness campaigns through the media, events and advertising targeted at the agricultural sector and the roll out of new TV and Radio ad;
- Promotion of good health for farmers;
- Publication of new information sheet on essential tractor safety checks and guidance on steps to manage risks in confined spaces;
- Increase take up of e-learning now available for slurry handling, tractor and machinery safety and for child safety on the farm;
The farming sector has consistently been the most dangerous sector in which to work. In accordance with its strategy for 2019–2021, the Health and Safety Authority has identified the agricultural sector as a priority sector.
In terms of 2020 and onwards the Deputy might wish to note that the Farm Safety Partnership which is an advisory committee to the Health and Safety Authority is currently preparing a new Programme of Work.