A new hard-hitting TV advert to promote safety around farm vehicle visibility by the Farm Safety Partnership was aired for the first time this week.
The advert is part of the ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ campaign, and underlines the need to always stop and think before doing any work.
The ad features the possible aftermath of the accidental death of a young boy on a farm, while reinforcing the message that such accidents can be avoided by putting in place simple safety measures.
Speaking about the campaign, Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a powerful advertisement with a hard-hitting message that challenges us on an emotional level. However, we can’t shy away from the realities of the total devastation that can befall a family after a fatal farm accident – particularly one involving a child.
“While awareness about safety is high across the industry, farmers must step up and take responsibility for making sure they follow safe working practices at all times.”
Welcoming the launch of the new advert, Minister for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Michelle O’Neill said: “Farmers have told us that they need to hear powerful safety messages and there is no doubt that this ad delivers.
“Farm safety is a message that we simply cannot repeat often enough. Every day farmers need to be thinking about being safe on their farms.”
“Anyone who cuts corners around safety needs to understand that they are risking tragic consequences that will leave a trail of heartbreak for themselves and their families.”
Speaking at the launch at Streamvale Open Farm, Dundonald, HSENI chief executive Keith Morrison said that the message of farm safety cannot be reiterated enough.
He said: “Farm safety is a message that we simply cannot repeat often enough. Every day farmers need to be thinking about being safe on their farms. They are very dangerous places and they know the risks themselves but we are just asking them to stay mindful to stop and think SAFE when they are doing something dangerous.”
Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall believes that increasing awareness and changing behaviours in the farming community is a job in progress.
He said: “What we have discovered as part of this partnership is that the headline statistics are frightening and the number of fatalities is not acceptable.
“But the startling finding was that the number of near misses is even more alarming.”
Mr Marshall continued: “So if this advert heightens awareness for anyone it will be a beneficial outcome.”
He concluded: “Our biggest friend and our biggest enemy is time because we farm to a calendar, we farm against the clock. If we take some time we can make our businesses much safer, but it we try to cut time and corners we face a lot of dangers.”