The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is calling upon the farming community to keep children safe on the farm this summer.
Figures show that tragically, since 2000, eleven children have lost their lives in farm fatalities.
During summer, children are around the farm more, with schools being closed for the holidays. All too often a child is tempted to play in an area where work activity involving potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery are being operated.
As part of their ongoing Child Safety on Farms campaign, the HSENI plans to visit more than 80 rural schools this year to deliver interactive farm safety workshops.
HSENI Chief Executive Keith Morrison is urging farming families to take extra care this year and said it is of the utmost importance that children are educated about the potential dangers on the farm and how to avoid them.
“I am making a personal plea to all farm families to make child farm safety a priority, particularly at this busy time with longer evenings and with schools winding down for the summer.
“Please talk about safety as a family and put in place simple, practical, measures to make sure your children are safe at all times.”
The president of the Ulster Farmer’s Union 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. It can be very difficult to both supervise children and work on the farm.
“With this in mind, parents should think about preventative measures they can put in place to help protect children from the dangers. These 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.”
The HSENI offers this 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