MEP for Ireland East, Liam Aylward who is also a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, has been a key driver of the momentum in Brussels this week on prioritising farm safety in agricultural policy.
An important seminar organised by Mr Aylward entitled ‘Farming – a hazardous occupation – how to improve health & safety’ will be held tomorrow by the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Employment and Social Affairs Committee.
Speaking in advance of the seminar the Ireland East MEP said: “There are over 550 fatal accidents in farming across the EU each year and farmers are 7 times more likely to die in a workplace accident than members of the general workforce yet there is no cohesive pan-European policy or position on best practice in farm safety.”
Mr Aylward added that he is keen to highlight that “the vast majority of farmers across Europe are self-employed, reliant on family labour and working in isolated conditions. The farm is not a typical work place and as such, standard health and safety regulations are not always suitable or relevant”.
The Ireland East MEP was quick to rule out increased bureaucracy as the quick fix solution to the present gap in EU policy on farm safety.
“It is crucial to highlight that in no way should EU led action on farm safety increase the administrative burden on farmers. The last thing needed is the creation of another box to tick in terms of cross compliance. However, I will be calling for the EU to introduce a workable and responsible pan-EU policy on farm safety.
“Farm safety is integral to farming but it is often overlooked in policy debate. With the current reform of the CAP underway and the sector facing challenges due to the escalating demands of increasing food production and resource constraints, it is an opportune time to consider how the European scope of agriculture can be used positively and proactively to enhance farm safety and tackle the appalling increase in fatalities and accidents.”
The Ireland East MEP will chair the meeting which will be addressed by Mr Patrick Griffin, Senior Inspector and farm safety expert from the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland, representatives of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and farm safety experts from Spain, France and Poland.
The seminar will be streamed live on the European Parliament website from 2pm tomorrow Wednesday 20th March.