Category Archives: Farm Accidents

HSE Issues Warning Regarding Risk of Lyme Disease to Employers

The HSE has issued a warning to employers of staff who regularly work outdoors regarding the risk of Lyme Disease this summer. If the employers fail to properly inform their staff of the risks, they are liable to face legal action in the case of infection.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued a warning about the potential threat of Lyme disease due to the increased numbers of the ticks that carry the bacterial infection during the summer months. The bacteria spreads to humans via the tick, which humans can pick up from horses, sheep, cattle, dogs and deer.

Dr Paul McKeown-who works for the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre-warns that people are at a higher risk of contracting the disease during the summer due to the increased probability that they’ll spend time engaging in outdoor pursuits. People who spend time in terrain such as forests or areas with deep or overgrown vegetation-inducing woodlands and heathlands-are especially at risk.

Employers are now responsible to inform their employees about the risks of Lyme disease if they work in such habitats that put them at heightened risk. They must inform their staff how to properly recognised the symptoms of a tick bite, and provide them with adequate protection to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Dr McKeown has provided a list of precautions to take, including;

-Wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and shoes
-Applying insect repellent such as DEET (on skin) or Permethrin (on clothes)
-Checking skin, hair, and clothes for ticks after being in such environments

If an employer has failed in their duty of care and not informed their employees of such risks, in the instance that their employee is bitten by a tick and becomes infected, they are liable to be taken to court by their staff and pay a settlement of compensation for Lyme Disease at work.

Health and Fire Services Issue Warning to Farmers on the Dangers of Slurry Pits

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Fire Service have issued a fresh warning to farmers in the area about the dangers of slurry pits on their property, and the risk that they pose to themselves, their workers and their livestock.

The warning comes as a result of the HSENI and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) having been classed to rescue four animals that had fallen into uncovered slurry pits so far this year. This loss of livestock may be financially damaging to farmers, but these cases pose as an example of the danger of death present for the farmers themselves, their families and farm employees.

Slurry pit related accidents is one of the four top causes of death and injury in Northern Irish farms. Farmers and farm employees are at risk of being overcome by the toxic gas released from the slurry during mixing, and falling into the pit or openings in the tanks.

NIFRS’ Group Commander-Fergal Leonard-issued this statement on the dangers of slurry pits:

“For Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, public safety is our priority and the best course of action is through prevention. At this time of year, slurry is being removed from the pits and used as fertiliser on the fields. This can be hazardous if the slurry pit is not properly ventilated during mixing operations and storage lids are not replaced immediately after filling a tanker. We would appeal for farmers to be vigilant in ensuring the access hatches into slurry pits are secure and well maintained”.

The leader of the Farm Safety Team at the HSENI-Malcom Downey-echoed his sentiments: “Before mixing slurry, always stop and think about the job ahead and make preparations to complete the entire task safely. You must cover all the openings and keep children and animals well away during the mixing process.”

He further stated: “Stay out for 30 minutes after starting mixing or after moving or re-directing the pump and try to mix on a windy day. Do not take any chances when mixing slurry, you are risking your own life and the lives of others as well as putting your livestock in danger.”

Dairy Farmed Prosecuted for Breach of Health and Safety Law

A dairy farmer in Armagh has been fined £1,000 for a breach of health and safety laws which resulted in injury to one of his employees.

In June 2015, an anonymous farm worker was helping to construct a fence on land owned by the dairy farmer – David Murphy – when his left leg was impaled by one of the prongs of a silage buckrake that fell from the front of a telescopic materials handler.

An investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding the accident and injury to a worker at a dairy, which revealed that there had been a breach of Article 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, and Murphy was prosecuted by HSENI inspectors in charge of the case.

A hearing was held at the Armagh Magistrates´ Court, where Murphy pled guilty to the charge on causing an injury to a worker at a dairy and was fined £1,000.

Following the hearing, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team – Kevin Campbell – said:“Farmers must ensure that proper systems are in place to prevent employees being injured. In addition, the correct equipment must be used and be maintained in good working order. Any misuse of equipment, or the wrong choice of machinery has the potential for things to go wrong, resulting in serious injury, as was the case in this totally preventable accident.”

Proportion of Agriculture Related Workplace Fatalities Decreases from 2014

The proportion of workplace deaths taken up by agriculture related accidents has decreased from the same period in 2014.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has released a report revealing that, in total, fifty-five employees died in Ireland in 2015 as a result of workplace related injuries.The total number of workplace fatalities in Ireland in 2015 was the same as seen in 2014. However, significant changes in the distribution of fatal accidents at work. Fatalities in agriculture accounted for eighteen reported deaths in 2015, just over half of the number seen in 2014 (30 deaths). This figure included the deaths of three children who were struck by falling objects or moving vehicles.

In contrast, construction related workplace fatalities in Ireland increased from eight in 2014 to eleven in 2015. The fishing industry also saw an increase in fatal accidents from one in 2014 to five in 2015.

Around two-thirds of work-related deaths occurred in small businesses (fewer than ten employees) or where those who died were self-employed–mainly in the agriculture, construction, and fishing industries.

The report also released figures relating to cause of death. Twenty-one of the workplace fatalities in Ireland were related to accidents involving moving vehicles, while fifteen employees were killed as a result of a fall from height and thirteen others died as a result of being crushed or trapped by machinery. Drowning was the main cause of the remaining workplace deaths.

The Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – Brian Higgisson – said the Authority will be looking for further improvements and reductions in accidents during 2016. He said in a press release: “All work-related deaths are tragic and while we must cautiously welcome the reduction in agriculture fatalities, it is still the most dangerous occupation and that needs to change. There are high levels of safety and health awareness in Irish workplaces and we must ensure that this translates to changes in behaviour and fewer accidents in all the sectors this year.”

Mr Higgisson continued: “We will continue to direct resources to the high-risk sectors, but health issues such as those caused by exposure to asbestos, dust, noise and manual handling are also major risks in the workplace. These hazards account for more working days lost than injuries and we intend to increase our focus on these topics during 2016.”

HSE Report Released Regarding Fatality Rates in Industry

The HSE has compiled and released their provisional annual report regarding fatal accidents in the workplace, highlighting which industries are the most dangerous for its workers.

Figures in a provisional annual report compiled by the HSE shows that between April 2014 and March 2015, 142 employees died in accidents at work. This is an increase from the previous year’s figure of 136-an all-time low. These numbers represent a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers. This is one of the lowest fatality rates among workers in many of the leading industrial nations.

Agriculture, recycling and construction all were among the most dangerous jobs for their workers Agriculture had the highest rate of 9.12 fatalities per 100,000 workers, and the number of fatal accidents last year increased from 27 to 33. The recycling industry had a rate of 4.31 fatalities per 100,000, with a total of five deaths last year. The latest figures show that in the construction industry, the total number of deaths fell from 44 to 35 between 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.

Judith Hackett commented on the report, stating that “It is disappointing last year’s performance on fatal injuries has not been matched, but the trend continues to be one of improvement. Our systems and our framework remain strong as demonstrated by our performance in comparison to other countries. Every fatality is a tragic event and our commitment to preventing loss of life in the workplace remains unaltered.  All workplace fatalities drive HSE to develop even more effective interventions to reduce death, injury and ill health”.

Also included in the report was figures for deaths due to mesothelioma cancer. The cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, and is one of the only diseases that is due to working conditions that can be recorded. In 2013, 2,538 deaths were attributable to such exposure-a slight decrease from 2,548 deaths in 2012.

High Court Judge Approves Compensation for Fall in Farmyard Barn

A judge in the Dublin High Court has approved a settlement for fall in farmyard barn compensation of €300,000, with split liability between the parties.

Con Oxley of Cullahill, County Laois, was working as a self-employed electrician in August 2008 when he was tasked with implementing a lighting installation in a barn on a farm in Ballacolla.

While rolling out electric cable required for the job, he stepping onto a wooden plank that was suspended between two boxes. The plank broke from his weight, and he fell 2.5 metres to the floor below him. He hit his head on impact, suffering brain damage as a result. Con lost his senses of smell and taste, and now only has partial vision in his left eye.

Con sought legal counsel, and decided to make a compensation claim against the farm’s owner for the injuries he sustained in the fall. Con alleged that the planks had been provided to him by Mark Quigley-the farm’s owner-stating that the planks provided to him were unsuitable for purpose.

Con further claimed that Quigley further neglected his safety by failing to put supports mechanisms in place beneath the planks on which he was working, or any device that would stop a fall, should one occur.

The defendant denied liability for Con’s injuries. As a result, Con sought authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue his case for farmyard fall compensation in court, which was granted. Before the hearing was scheduled, an out-of-court agreement was made between the parties to split the liability evenly between them. In return for Quigley not admitting full liability for the accident, Con received a settlement of €300,000.

Mr Justice Kearn of the High Court in Dublin approved the settlement for the compensation claim, stating that it had been a good one in the circumstances of the fall. He also said that the fall was partially Con’s fault, due to his failure to thoroughly inspect the plank before stepping onto it. This contributory negligence would have gone against him had the case gone to a full trial.

Young Boy Killed by Slurry Pit Fumes

A young boy has been killed by exposure to fumes and his father left in a critical condition after a slurry put accident in County Antrim.

Robert Christie (8) was mixing slurry with his father on a farm belonging to a family friend near Donloy, County Antrim, when the pair were overcome by fumes from the pit. The father and son both collapsed, and the alarm was raised by a postman who was visiting the farm.

The emergency services were immediately notified, and Robert was airlifted to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Despite strenuous efforts, the medical staff present were unable to save the young boy’s life. His father-Bertie (52)-was taken to Causeway Hospital where he remains in critical condition.

The family has requested that no further details have been released about how the young boy was killed in the slurry pit accident. Barclay Bell-the deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union-explained in a statement how such fatal accidents with slurry pits occur.

Mr Bell informed the press that slurry pits are pits that contain waste products produced by farm animals over the winter months. The waste stays in such pits over a period of several months, during which time a fatal combination of gases are created and released. The most dangerous of these gases is hydrogen sulphide.

The slurry pit’s contents are used to fertilise farmlands, but before it can be spread across the land, it needs to be mixed and agitated. This process releases the lethal fumes into the surrounding atmosphere, and it is difficult to know when they have diffused away as they are scentless gases.

The gases are denser than air, so they stay closer to the ground. This could explain how young Robert was killed in the slurry pit accident while his father only suffered an injury due to being less exposed, as he was higher up from the ground.

Keith Morrison – Chief Executive of Northern Ireland´s Health and Safety Executive said: “Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident”.

How do you get Dioxin Poisoning at work?

One of the many dangers that can happen inside the workplace is dioxin poisoning. Dioxin is the term used to describe a group of various chemicals which have similar biological characteristics. There are over a hundred types of such chemicals in existence and they can be categorized according to group. There are the chlorinated dibenzofurans or the CDFs, the polychlorinated iphenyls or PCBs and the Chlorinated dibenzo dioxins or CDDs. The CDDs and the CDFs are manufactured in industrial company and they are often used for bleaching purposes, especially in drinking water plants and paper mills. CDDs and the other chemicals can be produced during the manufacture of other types of chemicals, such as cleansing compounds or pesticides. Burning materials like oil, coal or wood burned in incinerators can also create dioxins.

In terms of PCBs, they are created through lubricants and coolants. When such chemicals are added in mining machinery or heating equipment, they will be exhausted as dioxin. In terms of natural occurrences, dioxin is created from volcanic eruption or forest fire.

When does Dioxin Poisoning occur in the workplace?

Dioxin poisoning occurs when an employee breathes contaminated materials, like dust, and then ingests it to their system. Poisoning can also occur when a person comes into skin contact with a dangerous chemical. In most companies, they create chemicals, like pesticides, which can be dangerous to employees. Workers in recycling areas are also exposed to other chemicals like copper and aluminum. Such materials have small remains which can be accidentally inhaled by the workers. Workers can also be injured because of the small particles and the injuries can cause poisoning.

In extreme jobs, dioxin poisoning can also occur. For instance, fire fighters are often exposed to dioxin when they are extinguishing fires. That is why firefighters are required to wear oxygen masks while in serious situations. Employees are also required to use protective clothing especially when handling chemicals and wastes. If there are dioxins found in the workplace, like in landsite or in water areas, then it is important to stay away from such areas. Employees are often protected by dioxin poisoning insurance and compensation claim once they are exposed to such dangers.

Symptoms of Dioxin Poisoning

Symptoms of dioxin exposure include vomiting, nausea and abdominal pains. In a couple of hours, prolonged exposure will result to a skin condition known as chloracne. This skin disease is characterized as skin lesions, discolorations and rashes in the body. There will also be hormonal and metabolic changes which can result to kidney failure. In certain studies, dioxin is found to be a causative agent of cancer and male infertility. This is because dioxin can be inside the body for a long time and this prolonged exposure can have significant effects in a person’s health. Tests are needed in order to check if the person is affected by dioxin and as to what level the poisoning is. The tests are based on blood checks and employee history. If exposed to dioxin, seek medical attention immediately.

See also:

Teagasc Urges Farmers to Focus on Safety

Teagasc has urged farmers to focus on safety after safety figures released show that there has been a 35 per cent increase in injuries on farms since 2006.

In 2010 almost 2,500 injuries were reported in comparison to 1,800 in 2006. The highest amount if injuries were for trips, falls and blows (42 per cent) while livestock-related injuries accounted for 33 per cent.

Teagasc health and safety officer John McNamara said that an increase in workload and poor organisation now means that farmers often overlook safety in their rush to complete work. Pat Griffin senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority said that there will be higher accident rates when farmers grow in size if nothing is done to improve safety.

Lyme Disease on Farms in Ireland

Lyme disease also known as Lyme borreliosis is a contagious disorder brought about by various species of bacteria. This is a common disease spread about by ticks from the Genus Borrelia species of bacteria that infect human beings by a bite.

The characteristics of this disease are: fever, head pains, tiredness, dejection and skin irritations known as erythema migrans. These may not be fatal but if left unattended might cause a breakdown in the central nervous system and the heart and joints may also be affected. In the early detection of the illness antibiotics may prove to be useful in eliminating the symptoms and treating the disease but if left untreated for a long period of time the illness can be debilitating and treatment may took a long time.

The early symptom is a round spread out of skin irritations that happens days after the tick bite. The skin irritation is reddish and warm to the touch but may not be accompanied by pain. The sufferer may also experience a bout of flu-like signs including fever, headache, fatigue and muscle ache. However, even if this symptom does not show up it is not a guarantee that the patient is free from the disease.

The bacteria-causing this disease may very well be present anywhere at home or even in the working place. So a worker must be alert to avoid bites from these hard ticks. Protective outfits and gears in the work area are highly suggested to keep away hard ticks. Pertmethrin spray can also help in the elimination of these ticks. People who are fond of domesticated animals like dogs and cats should make sure that their pets are not infected with these hard ticks to avoid infection.

As much as possible try to avoid tick-infected areas to avoid Lyme Disease. Monitor your pets to safeguard them against the attack of ticks. Maintain the cleanliness of your homes as well as your working area to get rid of tick infestations. This disease may not be as serious as it seems but the discomfort it would bring especially when you want to scratch the affected area may not be good for you. You might just be spreading the infection with your hands.

This disease can be a little uncomfortable especially when one is in the working place. Upon the detection of the disease a worker may fill up the work accident book provided by the company. This work accident book contains the history of the disease while at the working area. The company can use this to assess the damage to the employee and to make precautionary measures to prevent the widespread of the disease. Every company is required by the law to keep this work accident book for the employer and employee benefit.

Lyme Disease is a skin irritation that needs special care and cleanliness, Make sure that you get proper medication for the itch and prevent it from spreading out. You might mistake it for flu at first but when the skin patches appear, it is a sign of the disease. You will of course still need to visit medical professionals to be completely sure.

HSA Investigate Death of Boy in Farming Accident

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Garda have begun separate investigations into the death of a boy in a farming accident in west Cork.

14-year-old Ciaran Casey from Collatrum, Church Cross, near Skibbereen is believed to have been killed when he became trapped between a digger and a wall while bringing cows into a shed.

HSA inspectors are on site and have begun their investigations into the accident.

Claim of Mullingar Woman Who Lost An Eye Put on Hold

The claim of a woman from Mullingar, Co Westmeath who pursued a compensation after losing an eye at her partner’s parents’ farmhouse has had her claim put on hold. Elaine Newman, who lost her eye after a number of shards of glass entered it after a window shattered, made her claim under the Occupier’s Liability Act.

After hearing how Elaine’s self-esteem had been crushed by the accident, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill decided to put the claim on hold. A report commissioned into the accident found that although the glass may have been faulty, that there is no requirement which obliges farmhouse owners to fit safety glass in the type of window which was involved in Elaine’s accident.

Conference Hears of Farm Accident Dangers

An international conference on farm safety organised by the Health and Safety Authority, the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee and Teagasc has heard how the number of fatal farm accidents in Ireland is set to rise again this year, eclipsing the 20-year high last year.

“People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in many instances they are working on their own. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents,” commented Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who was serving as key speaker at the event.

“By continuously talking about and being aware of farm safety we can together bring about a change of culture and farmer thinking,” he continued.

The conference drew attendees from The US, UK, Norway, Denmark and Italy.

Kansas Man Awarded $1.6m for Loss of Leg

A man from Wilson County, Kansas has been awarded $1.6m in product liability compensation after he lost his leg when it became trapped in a grain bin. Sam Rollings pursued a claim for compensation against Ken Babcock Sales Inc, the designer of the grain bin, and his employer, the Fredonia Cooperative Association of Fredonia, Kansas.

The accident occurred in January 2007 when Rollings slipped and his right foot became entangled in the drag chain of the grain bin conveyor system. He suffered such severe injuries to his right foot and lower leg that surgeons could not save it.

It took a jury seven hours of deliberation to decide to award compensation to Rollings.

Cavan Cattle Drover to Receive Compensation for Bull Kick

Patrick Lynch of Crubany, Co Cavan is to receive damages from his employer after the cattle drover was kicked by a bullock. Lynch, who was one of three cattle drovers employed by Cavan Co-op Mart in October 2003 to escort cattle to a sales ring, had to do perform the job of all three men on the day which he was injured, as the other two had called in sick.

Lynch, who was kicked in the groin, suffered trauma to one of his testis, and was taken to Cavan General Hospital for treatment.

The case is now to be referred to the High Court for an assessment of personal injury damages.

Laois Teenager Awarded Compensation for Lost Eye

A teenager whose eye was impaled on an expose milking machine hook has been awarded €110,000 in compensation by a judge at the High Court. David Booth, now 17, was only eight years old when the accident happened on his family’s farm in April 2002. Booth, from Stradbally in Co Laois, pursued a claim for compensation against Senior Milking Machine Company Ltd and Stradbally Farm Services, which it was claimed were negligent on the grounds that the milking machine had been built to a safe enough standard.

David had no recollection of the events leading up to the accident.

See also:

Irish Farm Deaths Rose by 127% in 2010

The number of deaths on Irish farms rose by 127% in 2010, a report released by the Health and Safety Authority has revealed. The 25 deaths on farms which occurred last year is up from 11 the year before, and represents over 50% of all workplace fatalities in Ireland in 2010.

“Farming is a difficult and challenging occupation, many involved are self-employed and the pressures that farmers are under can be intense at times,” commented Martin O’Halloran, chief executive of the HSA.

“However the fact is that the types of farm accidents that are causing deaths and serious accidents, such as those involving machinery and livestock, can be prevented.”


HSA Launches New Farming Guidelines

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has launched a new set of farming guidelines which it hopes will help to lower the amount of accidents on Irish farms, the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

The HSA wants to help farmers to identify risks and hazards on their farms, including the risks posed by farm animals, which unknown to most, are one of the primary causes of accidents on farms in Ireland.

The initiative has been undertaken with the support of farming organisations and contains guidelines on how to use tractors, how to take care around livestock and how to cope with the presence of overhead powerlines.

Waterford Teen Awarded €1.28m

A teenager from Co Waterford has been awarded €1.28m for a personal injury on a farm by a judge at the High Court. Mr Justice John Quirke awarded the sum to TJ Kearns, for an accident in which he lost his leg in April 2001.

Kearns was nine years old when his accident occurred, during which his leg became entangled in a power seed sowing machine. Kearns was in a tractor pulling a piece of machinery at the time.

The defendants, John Joe Flynn, Eugene Flynn and Gerald Flynn of Dunmore East, Co Waterford, admitted liability.

TJ’s claim was made though his father, Tom Kearns.

California Workers’ Compensation Institute Reports $1.46bn Loss

California Workers’ Compensation Institute has released figures which show that the compensation system for Californian workers was down $1.46bn, which equates to 5.5% of Californian Workers’ Compensation claims.

Minor wounds, back problems, arm, shoulder and knee damage were among the most commonly claimed for injuries.

In Ireland, nearly half of accidents on farms involve tractors and other machinery (49%), livestock accounts for 15%, and falls from height and drowning both represent 12% of all claims made. Unfortunately, the Injuries Board Ireland does not provide any information on farm accident claims in the same way as is done in the United States.