‘Farmers must take time and Think Safe’

Harry Sinclair, Farm Safety Partnership, with Brian Rohan, Embrace Farm; Paul Clarke, compere; Liam McCarthy, ABP Food Group; Ann Doherty and William Sayers.
Harry Sinclair, Farm Safety Partnership, with Brian Rohan, Embrace Farm; Paul Clarke, compere; Liam McCarthy, ABP Food Group; Ann Doherty and William Sayers.

Two farm accident survivors have made an impassioned plea for farmers to Think Safe.

On the first day of the 2019 Balmoral Show, local meat processor ABP hosted a special event putting farm safety centre stage.

The assembled audience, which consisted of ABP’s farmer suppliers and stakeholders within the agricultural sector, heard about the life-changing consequences of injuries sustained by two farm accident survivors.

William Sayers, the son of a dairy farmer from Co. Tyrone, lost his arm when he was 12 years old as a result of a farm machinery accident.

William offered this advice to farmers: “I lived with the attitude that it would never happen to me. I urge farmers to take five minutes, or whatever time it takes, to do the job at hand safely. It can make all the difference.”

Ann Doherty, a mother of three from Kilkenny, was attacked by a bull ten years ago.

“Your whole life is affected - and your family’s too,” she said. “The psychological impact is much harder to deal with than the physical impact. I wasn’t able to talk about my accident for a long time but I am now able to share my story and I hope it helps encourage others to take more care on the farm. For the sake of a few minutes, put your phone down and concentrate on what you are doing.”

In a discussion with UTV presenter, Paul Clark, the two survivors gave personal accounts of the events leading up to their accidents and the consequences of the traumatic events for both their family and the farm.

In his opening remarks, Chair of the Farm Safety Partnership Harry Sinclair said that farming still had a poor safety record and there were too many accidents involving the main hazard areas of slurry, animals, falls and equipment.

“Taking a moment before starting a task may be the difference between losing life or limb,” warned Mr Sinclair. “We need to ask ourselves, is there anything else to do to make this work safer, such as getting help or using the right equipment?”

ABP holds affiliate membership of the Farm Safety Partnership Scheme and is also a patron of the charity, Embrace Farm, a support network for farming families who have lost a loved one or suffered injury as a result of an accident.

“We took the opportunity to host this event at the Balmoral Show as part of our commitment to increasing awareness of farm safety and related issues,” explained George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland.

“As a platinum sponsor of the Show, we hope the platform helps draw attention to the life-changing impact of farm accidents and stimulates a discussion on what the agricultural industry can do to continue to build a community of support for the sector.”