Irwin says safety message is “vital” to save lives

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Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has welcomed the Health & Safety Executive’s week long farm safety promotional campaign.

Mr Irwin said that there was still much work to do in terms of reducing risks on farms and improving practices around farming activities.

The MLA, who is a dairy farmer, also said that particularly busy times in the farm calendar can lead to jobs being rushed which can then lead to a higher risk of having an accident.

He stated: “Farm safety remains an area of concern across Northern Ireland and I welcome this publicity campaign by the HSENI to help to continue to promote the message of safe farming. Accidents happen when we least expect and it is certainly important that as farmers we look to make improvements around farms that will reduce the risks for everyone.

“Some years ago whilst out on the farm I was attacked by a bull and it was an experience I will never forget, indeed I was fortunate to escape with only bruising, thanks in no small part to the quick actions of a friend who was with me at the time who distracted the animal to allow me to get out of its way.”

He said: “In recent times there has been a high level of accidents and sadly fatalities on farms and that has taken its toll on many farming families across the Province. Loosing a family member in this way is so traumatic and very difficult to ever come to terms with.

“The Health & Safety Executive are to be commended on their continuing efforts to remind farmers of their obligations to farm safely and make informed decisions on reducing risks. Farms are by their nature busy places and machinery and livestock are central to any farm operation therefore great attention and care is required by everyone associated with the farm business.

“We cannot afford to lose the focus on farm safety.”