Today marks the final day of Farm Safety Week supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Health & Safety Authority, Ireland and today reminds us once again that farming is not child’s play.
The third annual Farm Safety Week offered a week of themed practical advice and guidance for farmers and coincided with the Livestock Event at Birmingham NEC. From falls and slurry to child safety – Farm Safety Week 2015 is urging farmers not to learn safety by accident especially when it comes to children.
Every child loves being on the farm, but while it can be place of great fun and excitement, it can also be an extremely dangerous environment – especially for children.
Since 2000 there have been 11 child farm deaths – with five of these occurring during the summer months, two of which were in the last two years, so it is important that the issue of farm safety is addressed, a plan is devised and implemented properly to avoid what is always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for their communities.
Summer is a time when children can be more at risk with the long school summer holidays and the challenging workloads for farmers. HSENI are encouraging farming families to have a dedicated safe play area for younger children so as to keep them safe from heavy machinery and other dangers around the farm, particularly when farms are at their busiest. Too often, children have access to the entire farm and view it as one big play space. Children must be taught about farm dangers and be kept isolated from these risks.
Supporting the initiative, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell, who also oversees HSENI, said: “As Farm Safety Week draws to a close, I’d like to thank everyone for their efforts in promoting such important safety messages. With the school summer holidays upon us, let us be particularly mindful for the safety of children on our farms and to make sure we have a safe summer for all.”
Six Nations winning rugby star and Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) Patron Rory Best added: “As someone who grew up on a farm I know what fun places they can be for children, particularly over the long summer holidays. However, I’m also well aware of the many dangers a farm can present, especially at this time of year when there’s so much work to be done. I’d urge all farming parents to be vigilant and make sure young ones are kept away from danger at all times. If children are old enough, talk to them about the risks and be very clear about where they are not allowed to go - and always encourage them to be responsible.”
Farm safety checklist for parents
* Do you have a safe and secure play area for young children?
* Do you prevent children from playing in or around farm yards and livestock?
* Do you prevent all children under 13 years from riding on tractors and farm machinery?
* Do you restrict the use of the quad and provide suitable safety equipment?
* Do you secure all heavy wheels, gates, heavy equipment and stacked materials to prevent them from toppling over?
* Is your slurry lagoon securely fenced to prevent children from gaining access and do you make sure tank covers are always in place?
* Do you always keep children well away when mixing slurry?
* Do you keep track of where family members are playing or working and when they are expected back?
* Do you make sure everyone washes their hands before eating and drinking?
* Do you keep chemicals locked in a secure store when not in use?
* Do you make sure that guards are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery?
* Have you made sure all family members know what to do in an emergency?
* Have you prepared a list of emergency contact telephone numbers?