Commodity Watch - UFU echoes HSENI calls to make 2014 a SAFE year for Northern Ireland’s farms

Saturday, 18 January, 2014

Commodity Watch

As we start the New Year, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland has called on local farmers to make 2014 the safest year ever. The UFU strongly echoes this message and would encourage all farmers to make safety a priority and always Stop and Think SAFE.

This week UFU representatives attended a farm safety event at Stormont, organised by the Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP). The event included farm safety demonstrations and an information session including a very moving personal account from a farm safety accident survivor.

Shockingly statistics show that agricultural accidents are the main cause of workplace fatalities in Northern Ireland. Going forward farm safety remains a key issue for the UFU and we will continue to play an active role on the Farm Safety Partnership. A follow up to the FSP’s action plan will launch later this year, with the focus of continuing to raise awareness about the four key dangers- Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment (SAFE) and developing a culture of safety-first on local farms. There is growing number of farmers that are recognising that accidents are not inevitable- they are avoidable so it is clear that the work of the FSP is making an impact and many farmers are making safety a priority on farm.

Everyone must play their part to make 2014 a SAFE year and the UFU would urge all farm family members to discuss farm safety and consider what extra steps could be taken to make sure a serious farm accident is avoided. At this time of year, the UFU particularly urge all farmers’ to be vigilant around livestock, especially freshly calved cows.

There are many low cost and practical measures which can make farms safer places;

  • Be careful working with livestock- plan an escape route.
  • Be careful working with machinery- keep in good condition.
  • Be alert to the dangers of slurry.
  • Avoid working from heights.

Often farmers are under pressure and sometimes there is the temptation to rush a job. However, it is worth thinking about the consequences of taking an unnecessary risk- saving a minute could cost you your livelihood or even your life.