Between 2007 and 2016, 23 children lost their lives in accidents on farms. As the accompanying graphic shows by the HSA, the types of accidents which occurred covers many areas which are part of day to day farming.

ag_fatals_kids_08-17
Deaths of Children on farms 2008-2017 (11% of all fatalities)

Precautions

The farm is not a play area, and that needs to be clear to children from a very young age. They need to be made aware of the dangers when they are old enough to understand. When they are too young they need to be kept well away from working areas of the farm. A safe and secure play area should be provided near the main house and close to adult supervision. On occasions when children are present on the farm, a high degree of adult supervision is always necessary.

  • Drowning is a prevalent risk for children so all open water, slurry tanks and wells must be fenced off.
  • Children carried in farm vehicles must always wear safety belts.
  • Areas where machinery is operational or where grain is stored present further dangers so ensure children are kept well away from these areas.
  • Children should also be kept well clear of unpredictable animals such as bulls, stallions, rams, stags and female animals with new born young.
  • If you have contractors or external workers on your farm, make sure they are made aware of the presence of children.
  • Never allow children under 14 to operate tractors or self-propelled machinery.

Operating machinery:

If a young person aged 14 or over, is operating machinery, they must only be permitted to do so if:

  • They have had a formal training course, run by a competent training instructor.

  • While operating the vehicle or machine they are adequately supervised.

  • They are physically able to operate the controls with ease.

  • The controls which operate the PTO devices, hydraulics and engine cut-off are clearly marked so as to show what they do and what their effects are.

  • The tractor or machine must be correctly maintained so that it is safe for them to operate.

  • The terrain on which the tractor or machine is operated must be free from hazards and steep slopes or excavations and also free of water edges or deep ditches.

  • Under no circumstances whatsoever should a child under the age of seven by carried inside the cab of a tractor and children between this age and 16 must only travel in a tractor cab if it is fitted with a properly designed passenger seat.

Between 2006 and 2015 an average of two or three children lose their lives each year as a result of farm related accidents. The main causes of these accidents are tractor-r or machinery related, while drowning is the other main threat. Adults have a massive responsibility to ensure that the risks posed to children while on farms, are assessed and recognised and that adequate controls are put in place to prevent death or injury.

The author: Nick Fitzgerald