The Farm Safety Foundation has announced the appointment of Stephanie Berkeley as the new Farm Safety Campaign Specialist.
The Farm Safety Foundation was established by NFU Mutual in 2014 as a charity to engage the farmers of the future and help raise awareness of farm safety, change attitudes towards farming safely and reduce the toll of injuries and fatalities which bring a catalogue of heartbreak and misery to numerous families and rural communities every year.
Figures published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in 2014 revealed that in 2013/2014 27 men, women and children lost their lives and significantly more were badly injured as a result of farming activities. Against this backdrop, 2015 will see the Farm Safety Foundation continue its efforts to encourage young farmers to think about safety in the hope that the number of accidents, whether major or minor, decrease and lives are saved.
Commenting on her appointment Stephanie said: “At the Farm Safety Foundation we are asking young farmers to seriously think “who would fill your boots” in the event of a life-changing injury? A serious head or spinal injury could put an end to somebody’s career or livelihood as a farmer and, as well as the physical and mental consequences of being involved in an accident on a farm, what about the lasting impact it can have on loved ones and dependents?
“As part of our “Yellow Wellies” campaign activity we have planned research, partnerships and educational programmes to engage young farmers and will be working with key partners to ensure we are out meeting as many young farmers as possible in an effort to encourage the next generation to challenge poor or unsafe practices on their own farms as well as through peer pressure.
“While our farmers are among the best in the world, farming remains one of our country’s most hazardous industries. Farmers, and their families, are exposed to numerous health and safety dangers on a daily basis - from tractors, to injuries from falls, machinery and chemicals. With preparation and proper training, these risks can be limited and lives and livelihoods can be saved.”
Londonderry-born Stephanie began her career at Belfast’s News Letter in the early Nineties, working in the business section of the publication before joining Ulster Business magazine as North West Correspondent.
After various roles in the Greer Publications group with Specify magazine and Ulster Business, she went on to edit the award-winning Northern Woman magazine as well as looking after the lifestyle section of Ulster Business.
For the past nine years she has been Marketing Manager for W5, Ireland’s only science centre and a charity with educational aims before her move late in 2014 to Stratford-upon-Avon. She continues to write a monthly style column for NI4Kids, Northern Ireland’s award-winning parenting publication.
She added: “Fashion to farming may appear to be a strange career path but I’m honoured to be looking after the Farm Safety Foundation which is supported by NFU Mutual. The organisation has an outstanding heritage and reputation which is second to none. This is an exciting and worthy campaign to be involved with and I’m looking forward to the many opportunities and challenges ahead.”