The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the introduction of a new Farm Safety Scheme. The Minister stated that everybody was acutely aware of the very high level of risk which Irish farms represented in terms of occupational safety. He was accordingly taking advantage of available funds under the old 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme in order to introduce a targeted scheme which would assist farmers to upgrade the standard of safety on their farms.
The Minister stated “I can’t think of anything that would have a higher priority than a loved one’s life and I would appeal to the farming community to look at this scheme carefully and examine the list of eligible investment items to address the safety issues identified. It is in all our interests and responsibility to raise the level of safety on our farms. It might just be the best investment ever carried out”.
The Minister said he would be bringing proposals for the new scheme to the EU for approval before the end of the week and expected to have application forms and full terms and conditions available on his Department’s website over the next few days. The amount of funding available for the Scheme will be €12.2 million and the grant rate will be 40 per cent up to a maximum eligible investment ceiling of €20,000, i.e. a maximum grant of €8,000.
According to Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, “I very much welcome this fund for farmers to improve safety standards on their farms. Farmers should take the opportunity to deal with the safety critical issues identified for attention within this scheme. The issues identified, if not attended to, could pose a serious danger to farmers own or someone else’s safety or health. Farms are potentially dangerous workplaces and anything that helps minimise the danger and lessens the chances of a serious or fatal accident is an important step towards reducing the current unacceptably high levels of death and injury on farms.”
As the Scheme is being introduced under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme, very tight time-limits will be applicable as far as the lodgement of applications and completion of work by farmers is concerned. The closing date for receipt of applications will be Friday, 9 January 2015 and all work must be completed by farmers and a payment claim lodged with his Department by Monday, 31 August 2015. The Minister confirmed that there will be no extensions granted to either of these deadlines.