Campaign focuses on child safety

HSENIs Julie Leathem and headmaster Paul Smith with some of the children who participated in a recent child farm safety visit at Upper Ballyboley Primary School, Ballyclare.
HSENIs Julie Leathem and headmaster Paul Smith with some of the children who participated in a recent child farm safety visit at Upper Ballyboley Primary School, Ballyclare.
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During Child Safety on Farms Week (13 to 17 June) the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is calling on the farming community to keep children safe on the farm this summer.

Summer is a particularly dangerous time for children on farms as they’re off school and are about more when work activity is running at a very high level - often with contractors on-site operating potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery.

Tragically, since the year 2000 there have been more than 100 deaths on our farms with six children under 11-years losing their lives due to farm accidents.

Child Safety on Farms Week is part of the ongoing child safety on farms’ campaign run by HSENI and supported by the members of the Farm Safety Partnership. The campaign aims to eradicate fatal and serious accidents through an extensive education and outreach programme which includes a programme of planned school visits throughout Northern Ireland. This involves HSENI inspectors visiting rural primary schools to deliver interactive workshops about farm safety and this year more than 80 schools and 8,000 pupils have been visited.

For this year’s campaign a new app called ‘Farm Secure’ has been developed by students at Ulster University’s School of Nursing. Sponsored by the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) the free app is aimed at primary school children and features videos and an interactive quiz. It will be available for Android from 17 June and for IOS over the coming weeks.

Urging farming families to take extra care this year, HSENI Chief Executive Keith Morrison said: “It is important to educate children about safety on the farm so that they can be aware of potential dangers and learn how to avoid them.

“As many children from farming families will also become our farmers of the future, it is vital that they learn about safety from a young age and develop good habits early. I hope the new app will prove to be a fun and useful tool in educating our young people about farm safety.

“I’d urge parents to take a few moments to think about the safety of children and to put in place simple measures so that your family have a happy and safe summer on the farm. Please make sure children are kept well away from livestock, harmful substances, falling objects, slurry gas and slurry tanks, and moving vehicles such as tractors, quad bikes or harvesters.”