The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is calling on the farming community to keep children safe on the farm this summer.
The ‘Be Aware Kids Child Safety on Farms’ campaign aims to eradicate fatal and serious accidents through an extensive education and outreach programme which includes a programme of planned school visits throughout Northern Ireland.
Over 10,750 children in 75 primary schools have attended interactive workshops about farm safety since Easter; they were facilitated by the HSENI.
Urging farming families to take extra care this year, HSENI Chief Executive, Robert Kidd said: “It is simply unthinkable to lose a child or have them seriously injured in a farming incident.”
“We can take action to keep our children safe and we must do everything we can to prevent our children being injured or killed in farming incidents.”
“It is really important that our children are educated about safety on farm so that they are aware of the potential dangers and learn how to avoid them."
He said that the Farm Safety Partnership will continue to do all it can, but “the initiative must come from parents if we are to really make our farms safe places for our children.”
UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “Children are naturally curious. Farms, and in particular, working farms can be tempting places for them to play and often children do not understand the dangers a farm can present.”
He acknowledged that it can be very difficult to both supervise children and work on the farm and stressed that parents should think about preventative measures they can put in place to help protect children from the dangers.
He highlighted that measures include providing children with a securely fenced-off play area, ensuring unattended vehicles are kept locked, and discouraging children from using bales of any description for playing.”
Farm safety checklist for parents:
- Have a safe and secure play area for young children;
- Prevent children from playing in or around farmyards and livestock;
- Prevent all children under the age of 13 from riding on tractors and farm machinery;
- Restrict the use of the quad and provide suitable safety equipment;
- Secure all heavy wheels, gates, heavy equipment and stacked materials to prevent them from toppling over;
- Ensure your slurry lagoon is securely fenced to prevent children from gaining access and make sure tank covers are always in place;
- Always keep children well away when mixing slurry;
- Keep track of where family members are playing or working and when they are expected back;
- Make sure everyone washes their hands before eating and drinking;
- Keep chemicals locked in a secure store when not in use;
- Make sure that guards are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery;
- Make sure all family members know what to do in an emergency;
- Prepare a list of emergency contact telephone numbers.