‘Tidy Farmyard Awards’ launched to target safety

NFU Mutual Belfast's Sheelagh Wynne, Niall Montgomery, and Martin Malone.
NFU Mutual Belfast's Sheelagh Wynne, Niall Montgomery, and Martin Malone.

A new award scheme to promote farmyard safety on Northern Ireland’s farms has been launched by NFU Mutual.

The Tidy Farmyard Awards 2018 offer cash prizes to farmers who have addressed common hazards in their farmyards.

Designed to raise awareness of the perils of modern farmyards, the idea for the awards has come from NFU Mutual’s staff and network of agents in Northern Ireland.

The Tidy Farmyard Awards 2018 will be launched on 1st March 2018. Winners will be recognised at county level, with winners from each county going through to the final. There will be a £1,000, £500 and £300 for the Northern Ireland’s first, second, and third place winners respectively. Other finalists will receive a £100 runners up prize.

Farmers can nominate themselves – and neighbours, family members and friends can also make nominations.

Entries will be judged on four submitted photographs which show how common farmyard hazards have been addressed to reduce the risk of an accident.

These are:

q How the farm and farmhouse are separated

q How machinery and equipment is stored

q Are signage, warnings and marked routes in place?

q Have potentially dangerous areas been fenced off?

Details of the award and how to apply are on NFU Mutual’s website: www.nfumutual.co.uk/campaigns/tidy-farmyard-awards/

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place at the Balmoral show in May.

The award judges are: Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation; Barclay Bell, President UFU; Malcolm Downing, HSENI; and Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Manager for Northern Ireland.

The initiative is being supported by NFU Mutual Risk Management Services and the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity set up by NFU Mutual to help farmers work safely.

“Recognising the hazards of modern farmyards to family members, workers and children, NFU Mutual has joined forces with the Farm Safety Foundation to urge farmers to assess the risk involved of everyday farming tasks which continue to cause high levels of injuries and deaths,” said Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Manager for Northern Ireland.

“As a mutual insurer which is closely connected with most of Northern Ireland’s farms we are all too aware to the heartbreak farm accidents cause. Because most farms are homes as well as a workplace, there’s always a risk that we can become complacent about the hazards of large machinery working close to homes and children so we’re running an award scheme which will act as a reminder. Unfortunately, today’s farmers are under huge pressure to get work done, often alone, and familiarity does breed contempt when we do the same tasks day in day out - and eventually luck runs out and the result is all too often horrific injuries and fatalities.”

Stephanie Berkeley, who heads the Farm Safety Foundation said: “Farming remains a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy providing employment to nearly 47,700 people across 24,500 farms. But the facts are shocking: In 2016 there were seven fatal injuries recorded in farming as well as countless other life-changing injuries.

“Each and every farm accident is one too many. Since 2012, the NI Farm Safety Partnership, with their emotive messages and innovative training, have been working to drive down these figures but there is more work to be done to reduce these figures and we all have our part to play in this.”