Farm safety and slurry lagoons: advice from UFU

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging members to ensure all slurry lagoons on their premises are signposted and secured, and to be extra careful when working with slurry lagoons.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 10:00 am

The call comes following an on-farm incident involving an NIE contractor, who fell into a slurry lagoon during a visit.

Leonie Rae, safety officer at NIE Networks said: “In the course of our work duties at NIE Networks we are required to cross agricultural ground and farmyards.

“A recent incident involving one of our patrollers falling into a slurry tank, reminds us of the dangers we face on farmyards.

“Wherever possible we expect our staff to speak to the landowner to identify and discuss the risks before entering.

“When speaking to our staff please inform them of any risks in regard to livestock, vehicles, farm machinery pits or tanks. 

“However, as contact is not always possible it is important to ensure that action is taken if there is a risk of injury, especially from falls into tanks or pits.

“By working together, we can protect our staff and others when accessing farmyards to carry out work.”

Farm safety continues to be a top priory for the UFU.

Slurry related incidents are one of the most common causes of accidents on farm and continuous effort is needed to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction in all accidents related to agricultural activities.  

UFU deputy president David Brown said, “Thankfully the NIE contractor was not seriously injured after falling into the slurry lagoon, however, the outcome could have been very different.

“Slurry lagoons are one of the most dangerous areas on-farm and I urge all our members who have one on their yard or land, to ensure that it is correctly secured and signposted.

“This is vital to keep themselves, their family members and farm visitors safe when they are on their premises. 

“Farms continue to be one of the most dangerous working environments due to the risk when working with slurry, machinery and livestock amongst other things.

“Communication, both verbal and through on-farm signage, can be the difference between a fatal accident happening and preventing one.”