he Health and Safety Authority and the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) have issued a joint appeal to primary schools to promote a strong farm safety message to children before they break for the summer.
The HSA noted that summer holidays are a high-risk time for children who are off school and spend a lot of time on their family farm or visiting friends’ and relatives’ farms; it is also a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done.
Farm accidents have claimed the lives of 23 children in the last decade and account for 11% of all farm fatalities over the period. Farms remain the only workplace in Ireland where children still continue to die. Farm deaths involving children are always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for communities and schools alike.
Child Safety on Farms Week
Prior to this, The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) called on the farming community to keep children safe on the farm this summer by playing host to a Child Safety on Farms Week which ran from June 4th-8th 2018.
This particular focus was placed to highlight the heightened risk that the summer brings as children are off school and more work activity occurs place on farms including the operation of potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery.
The campaign strives to eradicate fatal and serious accidents through an extensive education and outreach programme which includes a programme of planned school visits throughout Northern Ireland. The HSENI inspectors visited rural primary schools to deliver interactive workshops about farm safety and aimed to visit a total of 80 schools.
That’s Farming ran a poll on the topic of child safety on farms over the course of the weekend and the findings are highlighted below:
When asked ‘should the Republic of Ireland introduce a Child Safety on Farms Week similar to the HSENI?’ - 89% said yes, while 11% answered no.
In response to ‘do you feel that sufficient measures are being taken to educate children on the topic of farm safety?’ - 16% replied yes, while 84% responded no.
We concluded our poll with a final question ‘should it be compulsory for ALL primary school children to attend a workshop on farm safety?’ - 88% agreed while the remaining 12% disagreed.