Farm safety

The Union has been working with HSENI and this important issue and is a member of the Farm Safety Partnership, which aims to increase awareness of farm safety and to reduce work related fatalities and injuries on farms, and at every opportunity we remind farmers to stay farm safe.

We are actively encouraging all farmers to take part in the FarmSafe awareness workshops, which are delivered across NI. Farmers can also access an online farm safety tool to help them keep farm safe.

Ulster Farmers Union

Farm safety remains to top concern for the Union. More often than we would like, we are reminded that farms are busy workplaces which can be dangerous.

Ulster Farmers Union
Farming in Northern Ireland

Farming is a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy, providing employment to more than 48,000 people who work on 24,956 farms.

Unfortunately, the safety record of farming in Northern Ireland is poor and continues to represent a disproportionate number of deaths compared to other work sectors.

Between 2014-2018, 34 people died in farm related accidents across Northern Ireland, seven of which occured in 2018 according to the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI). The four main causes are slurry, animals, falls and equipment related incidents.

In 2013 there were four deaths which was a signifcant improvement to the previous two years, however it is clear that continued effort is needed to ensure a long term and  sustainable reduction in fatal accidents related to agricultural activities.

In the five year period between 2007 and 2011, the industry accounted for 50% of work related fatalities in Northern Ireland. The death toll is unrelenting, hitting 57% of all work related fatalities from 2009 to 2011; and in 2011 alone it accounted for 60%. An underlying concern is the preponderance of deaths among older farmers, in particular those aged 65 and over.

Farm Safety Partnership

On 1st May 2012 Health and Safety Minister, Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, launched the new Farm Safety Partnership.  The aim of the partnership is to increase awareness of farm safety and to reduce work related fatalities on farms.

The Partnership brings together some of the key stakeholders with an interest in farm safety in Northern Ireland. It is made up of representatives from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), the National Farmers’ Union Mutual (NFUM) and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU). HSENI is an agency sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and it therefore represents the interests of that Department in the Partnership.

Taking the next step to a safer farm