Over the 10-year period 2010 to 2019, tractors have accounted for 29% of all reported work-related fatal incidents involving vehicles, a new report from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has shown.

Quads accounted for 6%, while loaders and telehandlers accounted for 12% of these fatal incidents.

There were 490 work-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland during this 10-year period.

Of these, 217 (44%) involved vehicles. Agriculture made up 110 of these incidents.

A total of 95 farm workers and 15 non-workers were killed.

The average age of worker victims of work-related deaths involving vehicles in agriculture was 58 years, compared with 46 years in other sectors.

A worrying 50% of victims under 18 years were killed during the summer holiday months of July and August.

Some of the main causes of death involving vehicles on farm included work with live animals (20) and working the land (18).

Tragic accidents

In the report, agriculture was highlighted as the most dangerous sector in which to work in terms of vehicle safety.

In addition, the evidence suggests that older farmers are most at risk, with 62 farm workers over the age of 55 killed.

HSA CEO Dr Sharon McGuinness highlighted that children often help out on farms during their summer holidays and can tragically be the victims of fatal incidents involving vehicles.

“Farmers and all working on the farm need to be extra vigilant when children are about and ensure all good safety practices are in place to protect the most vulnerable.

“Most children killed on a farm are members of the farmer’s own family, which makes these deaths even more tragic.”

Time of day

The report found that there were fewer deaths in agriculture in the early part of the day, compared with other sectors.

During the 10-year period, deaths in agriculture peaked around 2pm and 27% of all deaths occurred from 5pm or later, compared with just 7% in other sectors.

Of the deaths involving vehicles in agriculture that occurred from 5pm or later, 63% happened during the summer-autumn period of May to September.

The single most common location of a death was a breeding area, typically farm fields or sheds. There were 49 such deaths.