Farm Safety Week: Statistics

Date published: 18 July 2019

As part of this year’s Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are reminding farmers to use best practice during their everyday routine in the farmyard.

From tractor accidents to animal attacks, farming still kills and injures more people than any other industry in the UK and Ireland. Despite fatalities in Northern Ireland’s agriculture sector decreasing by nearly 50% since the horrendous years of 2011 and 2012, where there where 12 fatalities each year, the sector remains a key focus of the Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership.

While HSENI has confidence in the number of fatal injuries recorded, it is generally recognised that there is a significant degree of under-reporting of incidents in other categories, particularly in agriculture where the vast majority of workers are self-employed.

Worryingly, statistics from a 2015 survey of Northern Ireland farmers suggests that there could be as many as 100 incidents per month on farms which require hospital treatment. At this level, it is sadly unsurprising that some of the more serious incidents can result in life changing injury or death.

For 2018 the following were the fatalities in the farming community:

●  8 fatalities in the agricultural sector – 1 more than the previous year

  •  Breakdown of cause of fatalities:
     ● Animals             4
     ● Falls                   1
     ● Machinery         2
     ● Other                  1

Malcolm Downey, Principal Inspector HSENI, said: “Farming and food production play a crucial role in the life and economy of Northern Ireland. But every year we have to reluctantly report that agriculture has the poorest safety record of any occupation here.

“All too often accidents happen on our farms which are preventable, so we want to continue to raise awareness for everyone working on, or visiting, a working farm. HSENI is committed to work with our partners on the NI Farm Safety Partnership and the Farm Safety Foundation on initiatives like Farm Safety Week to inform their activities and drive forward improvements in safety performance. We know that we need to engage with farmers of all ages to tackle this poor safety record and make farms safer places to work.”

For more information on Farm Safety Week visit or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek

Notes to editors: 

1. For more information on the Farm Safety Partnership please contact HSENI on 0800 0320 121 or visit the Farm Safety Partnership webpage:  

2. Farm Safety Week 2019 is supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.

3. The Campaign aims to highlight the serious dangers posed by farms and offers themed practical advice and guidance for farmers. This year Farm Safety Week reminds farmers that farm safety is a lifestyle not a slogan.

4. The Farm Safety Partnership comprises the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), NFU Mutual (NFUM), the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA). It is tasked with assisting Northern Ireland’s farming community to work safely and tackle the problem of work-related fatalities and injuries on farms.

5. The Farm Safety Partnership’s ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ farm safety campaign focuses on the four main causes of death and injury on our farms – slurry, animals, falls and equipment (SAFE).

6. For media enquiries please contact HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

7. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.


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