A new ESRI report on farm accidents has found that not getting help with difficult tasks is the number one risk factor on Irish farms.

It also found that young farmers, dairy farmers and farmers with the largest land holdings take the highest risks when working their farms.

For instance unmarried farmers were most likely to take risks in not checking machinery before use.

Farmers with the largest farms were three times more likely than farmers with the smallest holdings to take risks by not routinely using safety gear.

Over the past decade 197 people have died in farm accidents in Ireland and so far this year another 11 fatalities have been added to that total.

That makes farming by far the most dangerous occupation with the rate of fatalities running ten times higher than the average across the economy.

Today's report from the ESRI looks at risks farmers take by failing to take six key safety precautions.

It found the most common risk farmers take is not getting help with difficult jobs.

This was followed closely by not using safety gear such as goggles, ear defenders and high-visibility vests.

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The report found that dairy farmers and part-time farmers were more likely to take risks by failing to properly store chemicals away from access by children.

Despite the fact that nine of the 11 farm fatalities so far this year involved farmers over the age of 65, the report concluded that age is not the key factor in farm fatalities.

The ESRI's Dorothy Watson, one of the authors of the report, said future policies on farm safety should emphasise the importance of getting help with difficult tasks on farms, as the research showed that failure to do so is associated with the highest number of accidents and near misses.