Child safety on the farm
AS part of the Farm Safety Partnership the Ulster Farmers’ Union along with DARD and HSENI would like to reinforce the importance of child safety on farms. Agriculture has one of the highest fatal accident rates of any industry in Northern Ireland and is also the only high risk industry that has to deal with the constant presence of children.
Children and machinery
l Agricultural machines are potentially hazardous in the hands of a child and the law states that those under 13 years of age may not drive or ride on tractors, self-propelled machines or their implements.
l Children are not safe simply because they are in a cab – they can and do fall out of doors and rear windows. Falling from and being run over by such vehicles is a common cause of fatal accidents.
l When tractors are left unattended, they should be locked and their implements lowered to the ground so that children cannot interfere with them.
l Taking children to any place where machinery is at work is an invitation for disaster.
Children and farm animals
l You know that bulls, boars and rams are dangerous. In addition, children who come too close to a playful cow, sheep, pig or horse may be injured and female animals may attack when protecting their young.
l Check that children cannot enter any yard or pen occupied by potentially dangerous animals.
l Ensure children cannot gain access to veterinary medicines or application equipment (e.g. hypodermic syringes).
l If your children do come into contact with animals or their surroundings, ensure they wash their hands properly, especially before meals, to reduce the risk of infection.
Children and the general workplace
l Children are naturally curious and will often get into apparently inaccessible places. Make sure they are excluded from potentially dangerous areas such as: slurry pits and lagoons, sheep dips, chemical stores, grass silos, farm workshops and stacks of hay or straw.
l Ensure implements or heavy objects are well secured and a child cannot dislodge them. Check for existing block walls that have been weakened or liable to be knocked over by cattle or machinery.
l How do you store:
Gates removed from their fixings?
Spare tractor wheels?
Unused silage barrier sections?
Are these items stored in a safe manner on your farmyard?
What can you do?
l Provide a securely fenced play area with enough toys to keep children busy - a safe play area.
l Keep children out of the farmyard and fields unless they are constantly under the close and direct supervision of a responsible adult.
l If children are old enough, tell them about the dangers they should look out for and where they are not allowed to go.
When children are old enough to take part in work activities, they need to be:
l Shown the safe way to carry out jobs
l Only given work of which they are capable
l Only given work for which they have been trained
l Provided with well maintained and suitable equipment
l Well supervised
Remember: stay safe on the farm
For further information on farming health and safety issues in Northern Ireland please contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121 or visit our website at www.hseni.gov.uk.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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