UFU bringing farm safety to the forefront
Farm Safety Week commences today (19 July), and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is utilizing the international event to bring farm safety into sharp focus among its members. The much-needed work of the Farm Safety Partnership has improved the awareness of farm safety however, it remains an ongoing concern for every farming family.
UFU president Victor Chestnutt said: “Farm Safety Week is a very important period in the calendar as it generates extra publicity, helping to raise awareness about staying safe on the farm all year round.
“We work continuously to encourage farmers to take a moment to stop and think before they carry out work on the farm to ensure they are doing it in the safest way possible. Farmers have such a lengthy to-do list to get through each day and they often put their own safety at risk to get the job done as quickly as possible especially when the weather is on side.
“Farmers work with unpredictable livestock and high-powered technology daily and it only takes a spilt second for a life changing injury or fatality to happen. Too many of our members across Northern Ireland have had near misses and it’s terrifying to think how different the outcome could have been.
“In recent times there has been several accidents involving quads and it’s vital that when riding a quad, whether that be on the home farm or on public roads, please make sure you are wearing a helmet. Should an accident occur, a helmet could be the difference between losing a life and saving one.
“We can never be careful enough when carrying out farm work and the vital message of farm safety needs to be constantly repeated so that it remains at the top of the agenda for farmers and their families.”
Continued effort is needed to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction in farm accidents, and keeping children safe on farms is another huge concern.
“With the summer holidays upon us, children will be present on the home farm much more than during any other time of the year and I urge parents and guardians to be extra vigilant.
“Children love to get out on the farm to meet the livestock and see the machinery and with their playful spirits, farms can seem like a great place to play. However, farms, and in particular working farms, are one of the most dangerous working environments and it can be very difficult to supervise children and work on the farm at the same time.
“To protect children from on-farm dangers, I urge our members to put preventative measures in place. This includes 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.
“Parent’s and guardians need to set a good example for their children when it comes to farm safety as they are extremely observative and learn from us. Therefore, it’s vital that every farmer and farming family take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their family,” said Mr Chestnutt.