School closures raise farm safety concerns

The Farm Safety Foundation is highlighting the link between the closure of schools and the need for a clear focus on supporting those children and young people in rural areas, who will be spending longer periods on their farms.

These same people will also be called upon to help if family, friends or neighbours succumb to Covid-19.

Stephanie Berkeley, manager of the Farm Safety Foundation, explained:

“Educational establishments do not just close and send students home without a good reason. And, with the increased threat of the spread of Covid-19, the government realises that this is no joke. And so should we.”

Despite having to postpone its new virtual reality education programme until September, the Farm Safety Foundation is continuing to deliver safety messages to children and young people.

The organisation has written two new farm safety guides: one for agricultural students; and one for parents. These guides have been sent to all rural primary schools, land-based colleges/universities and national Young Farmers’ Clubs to be shared with their pupils, students and members.

The Farm Safety Foundation, or Yellow Wellies, was set up by the rural insurer NFU Mutual. Its role is to preserve and protect the physical and mental well-being of the next generation of farmers and to challenge and change their attitudes to risk-taking.

Farm safe

Since 2015, the charity has delivered its unique education programme to over 10,000 agricultural students and young farmers at 44 different land-based colleges and universities throughout the UK and through the Young Farmers’ Clubs’ network.

Despite the challenges posed by the spread of Covid-19, the foundation will be exploring new ways to deliver the safety message. Specifically, the organisation  will be using its social media channels – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – to share farm safety reminders over the coming weeks.

Berkeley added:

The fact is, with the closure of schools, there will be more children spending time on farm for longer periods than ever before and we thought it would be a good idea to put together a simple, easy-to-read booklet to remind everyone of the risks they will face on the farm every day.

“We don’t know how long this situation will last and our wonderful NHS workers are already feeling the strain of dealing with the spread of Covid-19. We need to take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones and not risk any of us having a farm accident that will add to a workforce already under pressure.

“They are working hard to keep us safe so the least we can do is farm safe for them,” she concluded.