The Ulster Farmers’ Union says farm safety remains a prime concern and encouraging farmers to make their own health and wellbeing a priority when working on-farm, is ongoing.
The comments were made following the publication of the Annual Report by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI). The report showed fatal injuries increased by one in the workplace and sadly the majority of deaths in working environments in NI, are due to agricultural related accidents. Seven people lost their lives in 2018-19 as a result of a farm accident.
UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said, “It is a heart-breaking reality that seven people lost their lives in Northern Ireland last year due to serious on-farm accidents, having a devastating impact on their families, friends and local communities. With lengthy to-do lists pressurised by numerous factors such as time constraints and weather, combined with their hardworking nature and commendable dedication to their job, farmers can put their own safety at risk without realising it just to get the task done. The UFU cannot stress enough how important it is for farmers to stop and think about what they’re doing because when working with slurry, unpredictable livestock and high-powered technology, it only takes a spilt second for a life changing injury or fatality to happen. Too many farmers have experienced ‘near misses’ and we are encouraging them to change the way they think about these close calls which are only a moment away from a fatal accident happening.”
The loss of life due to farm related activities remains the same as the previous year. The UFU is committed to promoting farm safety so farmers across NI put their own safety above all else.
“The report shows that continued effort is needed to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction in fatal accidents related to agricultural activities. The UFU are active members of the Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership and will continue to actively work with other key stakeholder organisations through the Farm Safety Partnership in order to reduce the number of serious incidents occurring on Northern Ireland farms. Any death is one too many and I strongly urge all farmers and farm workers, to view their safety with the greatest importance and make it a priority every day,” said Chestnutt.