Farm safety must be top of the agenda

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is using International Farm Safety Week to continue promoting safe farming practice for farmers and children. The much-needed work of the Farm Safety Partnership, has improved the awareness of farm safety however, it remains an ongoing concern for every farming family. 

UFU president, Ivor Ferguson said farmers must stop and think before they conduct work on the farm and make their own safety a priority. “Farmers are renowned for their hardworking ethos and with a lengthy to-do list pressurised by numerous factors such as time constraints and weather, they often put their own safety at risk to get the job done as quickly as possible. This happens across Northern Ireland on a daily basis, farmers need to stop and think about what they’re doing because when working with unpredictable livestock and high-powered technology, it only takes a spilt second for a life changing injury or fatality to happen. This is why the vital message of farm safety needs to be repeated so that it remains at the top of the agenda for farmers and their families,” he said.

The Farm Safety Partnership, with support from the UFU as a founder member, developed the ‘Stop and Think Safe’ campaign to tackle high levels of serious accidents and deaths on local farms.  ‘SAFE’ reflects the four main causes of fatal accidents – slurry, animals, falls from height and equipment.  In 2018 seven people lost their lives in farm accidents in Northern Ireland.  

Ferguson said continued effort is needed to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction in farm accidents.

The UFU remains committed to reducing accidents on farms and encourages farming families to spread the word about farm safety. “Any death from a farm accident is heart breaking and impacts on many people within a family and local community. I urge all farmers to view their safety with the utmost of importance.  We also welcome the pester power of family members to help reinforce this message.  Frustrating as it may be when it’s happening, it could save a business from the horrendous consequences of a death or serious injury,” said the UFU president.

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