Palmer urges local farmers to ‘take five’

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Lagan Valley MLA Jenny Palmer is encouraging all farmers and contractors to “Take Five” before they start any new piece of work.

Assembly member Mrs Palmer issued her call after past tragedies across Northern Ireland, a number of which have involved death and injuries in a farm slurry pit.

She said: “Whenever the weather eventually improves, this is a time when many people are visiting farms. It is also a time when farmers and contractors are working on slurry pits, which are perhaps among the most potentially dangerous locations on any farm.

“Following on from past tragedies, I encourage all farmers and contractors in Northern Ireland, and especially in my native Lagan Valley, to ‘take five’ in relation to slurry pit and all on farm safety.

“I urge all people in our agricultural community to take a few minutes before they start a job, either spreading slurry or dealing with a slurry pit, and assess the dangers and risks to yourself and others.

“One of the best safety policies I have encountered is the Take Five programme devised by the New South Wales State Emergency Service in Australia.

“These rules come under five headings – 1- stop, stand back, observe; 2- think through the risk; 3 - identify hazards; 4 - assess and control risks; 5 - continually monitor risks.”

Mrs Palmer is calling for the Take Five programme formally implemented.