Ireland's Safety Agency Focused on Farming, Entertainment

A campaign of intensive inspections of farms ended yesterday in Ireland as the Health and Safety Authority responded to five work-related deaths on farms this year. When the campaign began, five deaths accounted for half of all workplace fatalities in Ireland thus far in 2009. The Health and Safety Authority also issued a new guidance document warning musicians about hearing loss.

Ireland's farming sector employs only 6 percent of the country's workforce. But in 2008, farming accounted for 21 deaths and nearly 2,000 injuries, the agency said. HAS said the leading causes of farming accidents are tractors/machinery (49 percent), livestock (15 percent), falls from height (12 percent), and drowning (12 percent).

High volume and loud special effects are hearing loss hazards for professional musicians and entertainers. "This is something that must be on the agenda for all event organizers and employers in the industry. What can be a very pleasurable experience for people attending a single event can be a serious occupational hazard for workers due to repeated long-term exposure," said Anne Maria O'Connor, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority. "Short-term exposure should not be detrimental to a person's hearing as long as it is within acceptable parameters. But what about someone who spends a significant proportion of their working lives exposed to loud music? Those who work in clubs and concert venues, for example, can face this problem on a daily basis, and they need to be conscious of the potential damage to their hearing."

The guidance, titled "The Noise of Music—Sound Advice for the Music and Entertainment Sectors," is available free through www.hsa.ie.

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