Some 57% of farmers engage in unsafe farming practices, new research from Teagasc shows.
When asked to respond to a number of common farm work scenarios, most farmers stated that they were more likely to engage in unsafe practices.
Dr Mohammad Mohammdrezaei of the Teagasc rural economy department, who led the analysis, said: “The research shows farmers know and understand that farming is a dangerous occupation. However, they believe people who they consider to be good farmers do not think safety is an important issue.
“As a consequence, whilst farmers may intend to be safe, they engage in practices that are unsafe as this is what they believe other farmers and people they respect expect them to do,” he said.
Teagasc and BeSafe project leader Dr David Meredith stated that the results of the work are similar to other recently completed research that shows farmers play a critical role in influencing, not only other farmers, but also family members, other workers and farm advisers.
“Roughly 26% of farmers can be considered to practice safe farming. These farmers are important role models for farmers who have good safety intentions, but are slow to adopt safe practices because of a perception that ‘good farmers’ do not take safety seriously,” he said.
The BeSafe team will be working with farmers and other stakeholders to develop and test tools that empower safe farmers to play a greater role in leading on safety at local, regional and national levels.
The research was undertaken as part of the BeSafe project, which is a collaboration between researchers in Teagasc, UCD and University of Galway.
The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture and the full results of the study will be presented at the BeSafe National Farm Safety Conference at Teagasc, Ashtown, Dublin 15, on Wednesday 23 November.
The conference is open to the public and you can register to attend here.