• Occupational fatalities amongst farm workers in Ireland, 1992 – 2008

      Meredith, David; McNamara, John G.; Grant, Jim (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Background: Whilst occupational fatalities amongst farm workers have been studied internationally little research has been published concerning farm fatalities or the demography farm fatalities in Ireland. Aims 1) To establish the incidence of farm fatalities during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland, 2) to explore the changing age profile of those experiencing fatal injuries on farms in Ireland. Methods: An official dataset containing the details of every fatal farm accident during the 1992 – 2009 period is used to evaluate changes in the number and age profile of farm fatalities in Ireland. Results: There were 304 deaths on farms during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland. The average number of annual fatalities is declining having fallen by 16% from 18 to 16 per year during this time. The fatality rate has however increased from 15 to 22 per 100,000 workers. This has been driven by a reduction in the number of workers employed on farms and, it is hypothesised, rapid ageing of the farm workforce. The demographic profile of those killed on farms changed significantly over the period. There are fewer deaths amongst younger cohorts. Older farmers, those over 55 years of age, now account for the vast majority of all fatal accidents. Conclusion: These findings highlight the changing nature of fatal farm incidents over the 1993 – 2009 period in Ireland. The increasing number of fatalities amongst older farmers suggests that Ireland’s Farm Safety Partnership needs to place greater emphasis of raising awareness amongst older farmers of fatality risks.
    • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Irish farm operators

      Osborne, Aoife; Blake, Catherine; Meredith, David; Kinsella, Anne; Phelan, James; McNamara, John G.; Cunningham, Caitriona; Health and Safety Authority, Ireland; Teagasc (Wiley Periodicals Inc., 10/07/2012)
      Background- To establish prevalence, risk factors and impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among farmers in Ireland. Methods- In summer 2009, a questionnaire was appended to the Teagasc (Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority) National Farm Survey (n=1110) to obtain data on the prevalence, risk factors and impact of WMSDs amongst farm operators in Ireland. Data were collected by trained recorders and analyzed using chi-square tests, t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests and binary logistic regression. Results- The prevalence of WMSDs in the previous year was 9.4% (n=103), with the most commonly affected body region being the low back 31% (n=32). Nearly 60% (n=57) of farmers reported missing at least a full day’s work as a consequence of their WMSD. Personal factors evaluated using bivariate regression analysis, were found not to influence whether or not a farmer experienced a WMSD. However, work-related factors such as larger European Size Units (ESUs) (OR=1.007, CI=1.002-1.012), greater number of hectares farmed (OR=2.50, CI=1.208-4.920), higher income (OR=1.859, CI=1.088-3.177), dairy enterprise (OR=1.734, CI=1.081-2.781), and working on a fulltime farm (OR=2.156, CI=1.399-3.321) increased the likelihood of experiencing a WMSD. The variable ‘fulltime farm’ which was associated with a higher labour unit requirement to operate the farm, was the only factor found to independently predict WMSDs in the multivariate regression analyses. Conclusions- This study suggests that the prevalence of WMSDs can be reduced by the application of improved farm management practices. A more detailed examination of the risk factors associated with WMSDs is required to establish causality and hence, effective interventions.