As the school holidays get underway for summer the risk of death or injury to children on the farm increases.
Children love playing outdoors during the summer but that also means they are more likely to be on the farm during the busiest time of year.
We should never forget that farms are workplaces not playgrounds and that complacency may lead to tragedy.
Between 2000 and 2016 there have been 23 fatal farm accidents involving children in the Republic while six children under eleven lost their lives due to farm accidents in the North.
Behind every one of these statistics is an unbearable family tragedy.
It is imperative that farmers take adequate steps to avoid tragedy over the holiday period, with that we’ve compiled a timely list of precautions to minimise the risks on the farm.
Children, whether they live on the farm or visitors, need to be aware of some basic guidelines and boundaries and it is important these rules are effectively communicated.
- Machinery, livestock and farming processes, such as milking or harvesting crops or bailing silage, are all a source of curiosity for kids but they all present huge risks to kids. Keep children away from machinery and tractors, secure keys; teenager’s under-16 may not drive a tractor.
- Children should be supervised at all times on the farm in a safe and controlled environment
- Providing a safe, fenced and supervised play area away from the main business of the farm is a great way of mitigating the risks.
- Parents should walk the farm with children identifying hazards of all types and place large warning signs and barriers securing water and slurry storage slurry-pit.
- High risk areas such as a slurry pits, watercourses or disused buildings should be fenced off.
- Children should be taught that animals are unpredictable and carry dangerous germs.
- No minor under-18 should operate an All Terrain Vehicle.
- Lead by example, parents should wear high-visibility and protective footwear at all times.
- Teach your kids basic first-aid and have a rehearsed emergency plan of what to do in the event of an accident.
- All dangerous chemicals used on the farm should be stored safely, out of the reach of children.
- Don’t let older children roam the farm freely without specifying what areas they will be in.
- Keep kids away from machines especially during Silage making/pit filling, Slurry spreading and harvesting.