The farmers of tomorrow embrace farm safety at CAFRE

Eamon McDonnell and David McAlister carrying out tractor safety checks.
Eamon McDonnell and David McAlister carrying out tractor safety checks.

Over summer, young people from across Northern Ireland will attend CAFRE to complete its 13 to 15 year old tractor driving course.

Focusing on the safe operation of a tractor, the course shows how our farmers of tomorrow are stepping up to the mark when it comes to farm safety.

CAFRE is calling for others in farm families to follow in their example as serious work-related injuries on farms across Northern Ireland continue to happen.

While any injury has an immediate effect on the individual, the wider impact on their family cannot be underestimated. Farm families can include three generations and during busy periods the wider family circle and employees can all be needed for the day-to-day jobs.

The causes of injuries and fatalities on farm have largely remained the same over recent years - Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment (SAFE). These risks can be effectively dealt with by raising awareness, making small improvements and adopting safer practices. Everyone involved in farming should be mindful of the risks and know how to keep themselves and others safe.

Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) is an initiative managed by CAFRE and is a key element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The health and safety theme of FFKS addresses the need for farmers, farm family members and farm employees to take a fresh look at health and safety on the farm.

The short workshops raise awareness of the need for farm families to regularly walk around their farm looking for potential risks and making improvements where required. They also place a greater emphasis on learning from near misses by taking immediate action and making improvements.

The training also highlights the need to spread the message of farm safety to farm employees, visitors to the farm and the more vulnerable members of the farm family, such as children and older people.

Covering the four main dangers associated with working on a farm, Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment (SAFE), the workshops also give an overview of the ‘Making it Safer’ online risk assessment tool which is a requirement when applying to the DAERA Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital Scheme.

Grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters within farm families would all benefit from attending a workshop. The workshops use real life survivor stories to highlight the risks associated with farming and each workshop is sector specific covering pigs, poultry, horticulture and general livestock farming.

Delivered locally on farms across Northern Ireland the workshops are free to farmers, their families and employees.

For more information or to register for a workshop go online at: www.cafre.ac.uk/industry-support/farm-family-key-skills/ or contact Rural Development Council (RDC) on: 028 8676 6980.