Farming in Northern Ireland
Farming is a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy, providing employment to more than 48,000 people who work on 24,956 farms.
Unfortunately, the safety record of farming in Northern Ireland is poor and continues to represent a disproportionate number of deaths compared to other work sectors.
Between 2014-2018, 34 people died in farm related accidents across Northern Ireland, seven of which occured in 2018 according to the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI). The four main causes are slurry, animals, falls and equipment related incidents.
In 2013 there were four deaths which was a signifcant improvement to the previous two years, however it is clear that continued effort is needed to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction in fatal accidents related to agricultural activities.
In the five year period between 2007 and 2011, the industry accounted for 50% of work related fatalities in Northern Ireland. The death toll is unrelenting, hitting 57% of all work related fatalities from 2009 to 2011; and in 2011 alone it accounted for 60%. An underlying concern is the preponderance of deaths among older farmers, in particular those aged 65 and over.
Farm Safety Partnership
On 1st May 2012 Health and Safety Minister, Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, launched the new Farm Safety Partnership. The aim of the partnership is to increase awareness of farm safety and to reduce work related fatalities on farms.
The Partnership brings together some of the key stakeholders with an interest in farm safety in Northern Ireland. It is made up of representatives from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), the National Farmers’ Union Mutual (NFUM) and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU). HSENI is an agency sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and it therefore represents the interests of that Department in the Partnership.