HSENI are ‘Keeping Farming Families Safe’

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are highlighting farm health and safety issues under the strapline ‘Keeping Farming Families Safe’ at this year’s Balmoral Show.

As well as stressing the importance of farm safety, the HSENI will also host, along with its Farm Safety Partnership associates, a ‘Keeping Farming Families Safe Treasure Trail’ competition aimed at testing visitor’s knowledge on safety around the farmyard, and offering four iPads as prizes, one per day of the show.

‘Child Farm Safety’ as well as ladder safety and Power Take Off (PTO) guard demonstrations will also feature heavily on the stand this year, with HSENI offering a wide range of advice for farmers and their families, to help educate them about the dangers lurking for children on a farmyard. Girlguiding Ulster will assist on the stand showcasing their commitment on promoting child farm safety.

Falls from height are a major cause of accidents across all industries, and Polaris Safety Training and Rescue will be explaining how to work safely when climbing and undertaking short tasks when on a ladder.

PTOs are the power source for many machines attached to and powered by tractors – shafts can rotate at speeds up to 1000 rpm. To highlight the danger attached to working with PTO’s, there will be a series of demonstrations on the proper and safe maintenance of a PTO guard, and how to put a guard on a PTO.

Speaking ahead of the show, new HSENI Chief Executive Robert Kidd said: “I am delighted to have taken up the role of HSENI Chief Executive and am looking forward to meeting more of our stakeholders from the agricultural industry during the Balmoral Show.

“It is unfortunate that farming continues to top the table for the largest number of fatalities in the workplace. I want to stress the need for all those who live and work on our farms to be vigilant and ensure that they routinely consider the risks around all of their activities to ensure that both farm workers and young children remain safe from harm.

“The role of my agricultural team is to, not only carry out inspection and enforcement, but also to work alongside our education officers to raise awareness of the dangers of farming, and this is done in a variety of ways beginning with children in primary schools in rural areas, and seeking to continue that engagement and education of farming as they grow up.

“I would like to express my thanks to all of our partners who assist and facilitate us in farming issues, as well as paying tribute to my own staff who carry out their work with enthusiasm and dedication.”

The Farm Safety Partnership would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the partnership’s joint working with Rural Support on developing a hand book to assist farmers and their families with dealing with the pressures of farming. The book will launch on the first day of this year’s show.

Also at the stand this year, qualified nurses from the Farm Families Health Checks Programme screening van will be offering free health checks, which take approximately 15 minutes, and cover: blood pressure; weight and body mass index (BMI); cholesterol; mental well-being; diabetic risk and cardiovascular risk.

The health checks also look at your lifestyle and, where relevant, you will receive advice tailored for you about smoking, healthy eating, physical activity and alcohol consumption. You will also receive a copy of your results, and with your consent, a copy can be sent to your GP.

Rural Support will be providing information on its services which help to address a number of issues that can cause added pressure for farmers, including: stress and anxiety associated with increasing levels of debt; farming paperwork; physical and mental health concerns; severe weather; changing family circumstances.

The Balmoral Show runs from 15 to 18 May 2019 at Balmoral Park, situated at Maze, Long Kesh – off the M1, close to Lisburn. The HSENI/Farm Families Health Checks Programme/Rural Support will be at stand C67, close to Stockman’s Restaurant.

To find out more about the ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ campaign, or general farming health and safety issues in Northern Ireland, contact the HSENI Helpline on: 0800 0320 121, visit them on www.hseni.gov.uk or follow on Twitter @Hsenigov.

For more information about the Farm Families Health Checks Programme, please phone: 028 2563 5573 or email: christina.faulkner@northerntrust.hscni.net.

For more information about Rural Support contact the helpline on 0845 606 7607 or visit www.ruralsupport.org.uk (external link opens in a new window/tab) or follow on Twitter @RuralSupport.