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Keeping children safe on the farm

21{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} of all fatal accidents on farms between 1996 and 2005 involved children under the age of 16.

Children are at a very high risk on the farm. Farmers are encouraged to cordon off a safe play area for children, to ensure that they do not come into contact with any dangerous chemicals or machinery.

The Department of Agriculture has composed a list of some of the most significant risks to children on the farm, so that farmers can take the appropriate action.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the main risks to children on farms to look out for are:

Tractors and machinery – “Children under the age of 14 should not be allowed to drive or operate tractors or machinery. Children over 14 should be allowed to operate tractors only after they have received formal training.

Nobody under 18 should be allowed operate machines that have a complex control system or require specialist knowledge to operate them safely, egs. Self-propelled harvesters, power-driven machines, sprayers, slurry spreaders and chainsaws. Avoid carrying young children in a tractor cab, where they have to be carried in the cab, it must be fitted with a properly designed and fitted passenger seat with seat belts.”  

Drowning – “Make sure that all slurry tanks and water hazards on the farm are properly covered or fenced off to prevent access by children.”

Tree felling – “Children should be excluded from areas where chainsaws are working or tree-felling is taking place.”

Falls/building collapse – “Children tend to climb gates or wheels, particularly large tractor wheels. Gates and pillars should be properly erected so they do not fall over. Tractor wheel should be stored on the flat or, if upright, should be firmly secured.

Stacks of bales, pallets or timber are also temptations for children to climb. Stacks should be built carefully to ensure they do not collapse. Fencing should also be erected to prevent children gaining access to dangerous areas.”

Livestock  “Children should not be allowed near dangerous animals such as bulls, stallions, rams, stags and female animals with new-born young. Children should not be present when animals are being released from buildings after being housed or when animals are being loaded into trailers etc.”

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