IFA President Joe Healy and Sharon McGuinness HSA Chief Executive launching Farm Safety Week, which runs this week (July 16th-20th). Also pictured are Pat Griffin, HSA Senior Inspector; Caroline Farrell, IFA Farm Family Chairperson; and, Philip Maguire, Dublin IFA Chairman. For more information visit www.ifa.ie/farm-safety. (Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke)

This week marks the sixth annual Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland, an initiative led by the IFA in Ireland, aiming to reduce the number of accidents on farms and bring about a change in culture that makes unsafe practices socially unacceptable.

The message for this year’s campaign is: Your Health. Your Safety. Your Choice.

Farm Safety Week is supported by a number of agencies, including the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and members of the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee.

This year the campaign has taken a slightly different approach. Rather than focusing on agriculture’s poor safety record and stories of things going wrong, Farm Safety Week 2018 is focusing more on when things go right, sharing good practice and demonstrating what ‘good’ looks like.

Farming continues to have one of the poorest safety records of any sector in Ireland, last year 24 people lost their lives in farm accidents and 11 people have lost their lives so far in 2018.

Reacting to these figures, Joe Healy, IFA President said: “The statistics are stark but statistics don’t tell the whole story – they don’t tell you about the devastating impact a farm fatality has on families and communities; they don’t tell you the impact a farm accident can have on the rest of your life, on your ability to run the farm.

“Understanding the risks on and around a farm operation makes it easier to avoid dangers, and makes accidents less likely. However, all too often farmers do not recognise the risks on their farms, which makes it difficult to manage the problem. Sometimes, all that is needed is a fresh pair of eyes to help identify risks and to enable change.

New IFA Farm Safety Initiative & Health and Safety appointment

William Shortall has been appointed as IFA Health and Safety Executive to lead farm safety promotion and the new peer-to-peer mentoring initiative.

William has worked as a Regional Development Officer with IFA since 2007.

He holds a Diploma in Agricultural Engineering and has recently completed a Higher Diploma in Safety, Health and Welfare at Work.

William will formally take up the new role on September 1st.

For more information on Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland visit www.ifa.ie/farm-safety or follow @IFAmedia on Twitter using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek