MORE PEOPLE have been killed in on-farm incidents during the first six months of this year than during the whole of last year.

In 2003/4 there were 30 fatal incidents in farming, the lowest number on record, although another 21 workers lost their lives in the tragic events at Morecame Bay.

But chief agricultural inspector Roger Nourish has expressed considerable concern that the number of reported on-farm deaths between Apr-Sept 2004 has already passed 30.

Dr Nourish stressed that the figures were only provisional and obviously the HSE was still investigating the exact causes.

But he said it did appear that a factor might have been the poor harvest conditions seen in August and September.

“I think what happened in lots of parts of the country was that the window of opportunity was very limited.

“When the weather did abate, people were under pressure, and that‘s when they become vulnerable.

“It is at that point they cut corners because they are rushing around and are tired and stressed.”

Dr Nourish said he wanted to urge farmers, even when they were under pressure, to give a little more thought to safety issues.

“The tragedy of this is that nearly all these accidents were avoidable. Time and time again it is the same things we see.”