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  1. ITV Report

Rise in number of Northern Ireland farming deaths

The highest number of deaths were caused by animals; 4.

Eight people died in farming accidents last year in Northern Ireland. That's an increase on 2017 figures.

However, the number of deaths are down on 2011 and 2012 when the province had 12 fatalities each year.

The Health and Safety Executive said four of the deaths were caused by animals, two were connected with machinery, one involved a fall, and the cause of the final death was described as 'other'.

Concern was also expressed by the Health and Safety Executive at the suspected level of under reporting of non-fatal injuries.

A 2015 survey of farmers in Northern Ireland suggested there could be as many as 100 incidents per month on farms which require hospital treatment.

The figures were released as part of this year's Farm Safety Week, which urges farmers to use best practice in their workplace

Breakdown of cause of deaths:

4
Animals
2
Machinery
1
Falls
1
Other

Principal Inspector at Health and Safety Executive NI, Malcolm Downey, 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 www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook.