The Health and Safety Executive has said that anyone with specific concerns about unsafe working practices on farms should contact them to make a formal complaint.
The appeal comes after Farming Life received a phone call from a farmer who said he was concerned for the safety of the young drivers employed by an agricultural contractor.
The farmer, who did not wish to be identified, said that the contractor was putting slurry out on his farm and he had witnessed teenagers using machinery with unguarded PTO shafts.
He said: “Some of these young fellas are under 18 years of age and some of them are over 18. I would like to ask the Health and Safety Executive if they are obliged to inspect contractors’ machinery. If something was to happen involving these unguarded PTOs what can contractors expect in terms of a fine or whatever.
“I spoke to some of the young drivers and they said this had been going on for a considerable time.
“I would like to know how many agricultural contractors in my area have been inspected and do Health and Safety carry out spot checks. I would like to know how I stand if something was to happen to one of these drivers when they are working on my farm.
“Young people in these jobs need to be protected and I feel that the Health and Safety people are failing them big time. The contractor has to be put in a position of responsibility.”
When contacted a spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive NI said they would view this as a serious issue and urged the farmer concerned to contact them directly to make a formal complaint.
He added: “HSENI would encourage anyone who has specific concerns about unsafe working practices to contact us on 0800 0320 121 to make a formal complaint. Callers can remain anonymous if they wish.”