Free farm safety courses for farmers in the North

Farmers in Northern Ireland are being encouraged by the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Michelle Mcllveen to attend free farm safety courses.

The Minister hopes that farmers will make farm safety a priority by signing up for these new workshops under the Farm Families Key Skills (FFKS) initiative.

The FFKS is an initiative under the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS), which is a key element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

The Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC) has been appointed to deliver the Health and Safety training under the Programme.

Set to be delivered on farms throughout Northern Ireland, the training will be free for farmers, members of the farm family and employees to attend.

Health and Safety continues to be an important issue for farm families and their employees, according to Minister McIIveen.

Major injuries on farm across Northern Ireland are up 10% on figures from 2014.

“The causes of injuries and fatalities on farm have remained the same and are normally risks that can be dealt with by raising awareness, making small improvements and adopting safer practices.

“These short workshops are free and provide an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the continuing risks that are present on farm,” the Minister said.

Minister Mcllveen wanted to encourage everyone to make 2017 a safer year on farms by attending one of these workshops.

The farm safety workshops are set to highlight the need to spread the message of farm safety to farm employees, visitors to the farm and more vulnerable members of the family such as children and older people.

The farming sector needs to develop a culture of safety on farms, according to Tereasa Canavan, Chief Executive of RDC.

Creating that culture involves every person on the farm. We need everyone involved in the industry to ask, what can I do every day to make my farm safer?

“It’s very positive to see the number of farmers who attended the Farm Health and Safety Workshops in November and December.

“We would encourage all farmers, their family members and employees to make attendance a priority with the release of new dates for January to March 2017,” Canavan said.

The farm health and safety training programme covers the four main dangers associated with working on a farm; slurry, animals, falls and equipment (S.A.F.E.).

Meanwhile, the workshops also gives an overview of the ‘Making it Safer’ online risk assessment tool, which is a requirement when applying to the DAERA Farm Business Improvement Scheme.

Further information relating to the scheduling of these workshops is available online.