In the wake of the recent Farm Safety Week in Northern Ireland, the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) is encouraging the farming community to consider new and emerging farm safety technology in efforts to keep everyone safe on farms.

With fast-moving technical development, machinery such as autonomous electric tractors, large spraying drones, and on-vehicle cameras that can monitor danger areas around power take-off (PTO) drives and remotely stop the machinery if someone get too close, will soon be commonplace on farms.

Camilla Mackey, head of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) agri-food team and FSP member said: 

“The evolution of farm safety equipment is set to help make our farms much safer. The Farm Safety Partnership will continue to champion evolving safety technologies and highlight their benefits to farmers across Northern Ireland.

“While we look with optimism to the future; we must be mindful of the dangers that exist today.

“Our advice remains the same to farmers – guard machinery; plan and follow safe systems of working; and use the correct equipment for the job.”

Farm safety

For its part, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is pushing for positive behavioural change on farms, 365 days of the year.

The organisation has reiterated the importance of farmers making their health and well-being a constant priority in order to improve safety on farms.

While progress has been made in some areas, farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland. This highlights the much needed work that still needs to be done, according to the UFU.

“The UFU is encouraging farmers to always stop and think before carrying out work on the farm, so as to ensure they are doing so in the safest way possible,” the union has stated.

A regular safety prevention routine should include the checking of brakes. Faulty brakes or not applying them properly are still killing people on farms. A regular safety check and good maintenance will keep everyone safe.

Planning safe spaces should be another priority. Attacks by bulls are still one of the most common causes of deaths on farms, so farmers should always ensure that they plan a safe space.

Where slurry gas is concerned, one breath can kill. Here it is a case of following the slurry code and stay out of the shed for at least 30 minutes after mixing starts.

Falls from heights and through fragile roofs continue to kill and seriously injure farmers. So, it is important to ensure that properly trained people with the right equipment are the only people  carrying out roof work on a farm.