FALLS, slurry fumes, animal attacks and equipment accidents have resulted in an ‘unprecedented’ death toll on Tyrone farms in the past five years.
A total of 13 people have died on Tyrone farms since 2008, according to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, prompting fears that farmers are being placed under greater work pressures.
The deaths, which are predominantly in the over 50 age group, include that of a Dungannon farmer who fell from a stack of large rectangular straw bales into a diet feeder in October, a part-time Coalisland farmer who died last May when he fell approximately 20 feet through a sky light on a building at his farm, and farm foreman Keith Willis died after being run over by a telescopic handler at the Caledon Estate in Co. Tyrone.
Across Northern Ireland, the recent rise in fatal farm accidents is unprecedented and unexplained, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Twenty people have died in the North as a result of farm accidents in the last 19 months.
Jim King of the HSE said he had not seen anything like it in his 25 years in the job.
“It’s the worst period that we can ever remember where there has been a consistent, unrelenting death toll in the farming industry,” he said.
Mr King said the HSE were “not sure of the causes at the moment”.
“It may be down to extra pressure on the farmer. It may be down to the fact that people are missing out on the safety message that we’re putting out.
“It may be a combination of things but people are no longer perceiving risks the way they used to,” he added.