Campaign of farm safety visits goes live
A major targeted campaign of farm safety visits by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) gets underway today (Monday).
This initiative, which will see more than 1,000 farm visits take place by the end of March, is part of a series of awareness-raising activities designed to help ramp up farm safety and address the rise in fatalities which weigh heavily on Northern Ireland’s farming community.
Since April 2007, 42 people in Northern Ireland have been killed as a direct result of agricultural activities. Many more have been seriously injured or made ill by work.
Under the initiative, which is backed by working farmers and international rugby players Simon and Rory Best, Health and Safety Inspectors form HSENI and a number of district councils will be working directly with farmers to highlight the four key dangers of working with Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment (i.e. SAFE).
Supported by the Ulster Farmers’ Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Inspectors will also provide information packs to farmers and their families which will help to ensure their safety when carrying out important everyday tasks.
Simon and Rory have opened their County Down farm to Northern Ireland’s media in an effort to raise awareness of the campaign.
Speaking at his farm Simon said: “As a working farmer myself, I understand the difficult circumstances and challenges involved in getting on with the job, so I’m pleased to be able to support HSENI in its efforts to raise awareness and ramp up the farm safety message.
“Too many lives are being lost in the industry and too many farmers are being seriously injured whilst carrying out what are often routine everyday tasks. These farm visits present an important opportunity for the farming community to seek support and advice in an effort to create a safer working environment on our farms.”
George Lucas, Chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership, said: “This initiative could not be more important. Within the last 10 days, I was deeply shocked to hear of yet another farm fatality - this time in Dungannon. For the sake of this hardworking man and his family, and all the farming community, let’s pull together to ensure that this does not happen again.
“I am very pleased that our colleagues in the district councils have been able to assist HSENI in this initiative. These farm safety visits are a vital way to help underline the important advice being given and farmers should use this initiative as an opportunity to improve the safety of their surroundings and to familiarise themselves with the risks involved.”
As part of the initiative Health and Safety Inspectors will also visit farming marts throughout Northern Ireland to help get the safety message to farmers and farm workers.
Malcolm Downey, who heads up the Farm Safety Team at HSENI, said: “I believe that farm safety visits along with one-to-one advice are vital tools in helping to limit the devastation caused by accidents. HSENI teams, supported by District Council officers, will be focusing their efforts on reminding farmers to “STOP and think SAFE” before starting any farm job.”
If any farmer would like to request a farm visit for their own farm they can contact HSENI. For further information on farming health and safety issues in Northern Ireland contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121 or visit www.hseni.gov.uk/farmsafe
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Weather for Ballymena
Friday 24 May 2013
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