The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging parents and guardians to be vigilant as schools have closed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
“Children are naturally curious,” said UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt. “Children view farms as one big play area and fail to understand the consequences that go hand in hand with playing around machinery, equipment and livestock. 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.”
Agriculture has one of the highest fatal accident rates of any industry and is the only high-risk industry that has to deal with the constant presence of children.
“It can be very difficult to both supervise children and work on the farm. With this in mind, parents and guardians 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. It is vital that every farmer and farming family take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their family,” said Chestnutt.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) are calling on the farming community to keep children safe on the farm and they have provided a farm safety checklist for parents. More information on farm safety can be found on www.hseni.gov.uk