Keep your kids safe on-farm this summer

With schools finishing up for the summer holidays, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging parents and guardians to be extremely careful if they are spending time on the farm.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 9:16 am

Children love to explore and meet animals, but farms are a place of work and are a dangerous environment for children.

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said: “Children are naturally curious. Children view farms as one big play area and fail to understand the consequences that go hand in hand with playing around machinery, equipment and livestock.

“Farms, and in particular working farms, can be tempting places for them to play and often children do not understand the dangers a farm can present.”

Tragically, children have been involved in fatal on-farm accidents in Northern Ireland.

“It can be very difficult to supervise children and work on the farm at the same time. With this in mind, parents/guardians should think about preventative measures they can put in place to help protect children from the dangers. These measures include providing children with a securely fenced off play area, ensuring unattended vehicles are kept locked, and discouraging children from using bales of any description for playing. It is important that we take care when driving a quad or tractor and follow the safety stickers on the equipment. It is vital that every farmer and farming family take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their family,” said Mr Chestnutt.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) have provided a farm safety checklist for parents to help them keep their kids safe regardless of the time of year:

- Have a safe and secure play area for young children

- Prevent children from playing in or around farmyards and livestock

- Make sure your vehicles have good all-round visibility

- Prevent all children under 13 years from riding on tractors and farm machinery

- Restrict the use of the quad and provide suitable safety equipment

- Secure all heavy wheels, gates, heavy equipment and stacked materials to prevent them from toppling over

- Ensure your slurry lagoon is securely fenced to prevent children from gaining access and make sure tank covers are always in place 

- Always keep children well away when mixing slurry

- Keep track of where family members are playing or working and when they are expected back 

- Make sure everyone washes their hands before eating and drinking 

- Keep chemicals locked in a secure store when not in use

- Make sure that guards are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery

- Make sure all family members know what to do in an emergency 

- Prepare a list of emergency contact telephone numbers

The UFU would encourage farmers and their families to visit www.hseni.gov.uk for more information on farm safety.