This week is Child Farm Safety Week in Northern Ireland, and the HSENI’s Agriculture team are extremely busy visiting rural primary schools to give farm safety talks to Primary one and Primary seven pupils right across Northern Ireland on the run up to the summer holidays.

HSENI would also like to remind all schoolchildren in NI to get their entries into the annual ‘Avoid Harm on the Farm’ poster competition, where the 12 winning entries will form part of the 2023 farm safety calendar.

This year’s competition was launched on June 1 and will run until the end of June.

Children in NI from Primary Schools and Special Schools are invited to enter the competition by drawing a poster outlining the dangers that are present on farms.

Farmyards are busy workplaces and children are more at risk during the school holidays as they spend more time on the farm.

HSENI said that the farm can be a place of great fun and excitement for children, but it can also be an extremely dangerous environment, so keeping children safe on farms must remain a priority

All too often, children have access to the entire farm and view it as one big play space.

Children must be taught about farm dangers and be kept away from the risks.

Camilla Mackey, head of the agri-team at HSENI said:

“HSENI would encourage your children to enjoy the farm.

“There are plenty of things that children can do to help out and these are excellent life skills for the future but remember, this is wholly dependent on the child’s age and maturity.

“Parents must be very mindful of this and ensure children of all ages are adequately supervised on the farm at all times.

“Children must also never be carried on agricultural vehicles or machinery during work activities until they are aged 13 years or over.

“Children of all ages are naturally curious, so it is really important that they are educated about safety on the farm from an early age so that they are aware of the potential dangers and learn how to avoid them.

“The annual poster competition is an ideal way for parents to remind their children about how to stay safe on the farm.

“I would encourage parents to help their children identify dangers such as tractors and machinery, silage harvesting and slurry operations, for example, and illustrate to us their ideas on farm safety.”