As part of Farm Safety Week this week, the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) is reminding the farming community to keep children safe on farms during these busy summer months.
The FSP has said that children are naturally curious, particularly on working farms, they can be tempting places for them to play and often children do not understand the dangers a farm can present.
It is urging parents to think about the preventative measures they can put in place to help protect children from the risks they face on farms.
Farm safety measures
Some measures which parents can implement on or around the farm are:
- Providing young children with a securely fenced-off play area;
- Preventing children under the age of 13 riding on agricultural vehicles as passengers;
- Ensuring the farm quad is not driven by anyone under the age of 16 and those 16 or over must be trained and wear head protection;
- Secure any old equipment or gates to prevent them toppling over;
- Ensure slurry stores are securely fenced and keep children away from all mixing operations.
In May and June of this year, HSENI’s Agriculture Team were busy visiting rural primary schools to give farm safety talks to primary one and primary seven pupils across the province, promoting farm safety awareness and educating rural children on the risks they face on the farm.
It is now urging parents and families to talk to their children about farm safety and reiterate the messages they have learned at school.
The Agriculture Team also ran the annual ‘Avoid Harm on the Farm’ poster competition throughout the month of June, asking all primary school aged children to draw pictures of the key risks they see on the farm and submit these, 12 of which will be chosen as winners to form part of our 2023 farm safety calendar.
Camilla Mackey, head of HSENI’s Agri-Food Team said: “It is critical that our children are educated about farm safety so that they are aware of the potential dangers and learn how to avoid them.
“The Farm Safety Partnership [is] asking all farm families to make child farm safety a priority, particularly at this busy time with longer evenings and schools closed for the summer holidays.
“You must supervise your children if they are on the farm; the younger they are the more vulnerable they can be, and they simply do not understand the risk.
“All too often, children have access to the entire farm and view it as one big play space, this is hugely concerning. Children must be protected from the risks on the farm, they are workplaces not playgrounds,” Mackey explained.