Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster has urged the farming community to think ‘safety first’ when at work.
During the visit to the Farm Family ‘Health and Safety Roadshow’, which was held in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough, the Minister launched a targeted campaign of farm safety visits by the Health and Safety Executive. The programme of visits will take place during November and will focus on main causes of work-related farm fatalities.
The Farm Family ‘Health and Safety Roadshow’ is organised by the Ulster Farmers’ Union in conjunction with South Eastern HSC Trust and the Public Health Agency, with the main aim of providing practical advice to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of farmers and their families.
Arlene Foster said: “Since April this year, nine people have been killed as a direct result of agricultural activities, including working with slurry gas, animals or falls from a height or equipment. Many more have been seriously injured or made ill by work.
“I welcome the focus on farm safety demonstrated here today at this diverse event, particularly at a time when so many farmers have lost their lives in tragic circumstances. It is vital that our shared aim of raising awareness of sensible and practical health and safety precautions for farming families continues to gather momentum.
“I congratulate the Ulster Farmers’ Union and others involved in organising today’s event as we strive to make farms a safer, healthier and happier place of work for everyone in the agricultural community.”
Organisations involved in farm safety, including the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and NFU Mutual, highlighted the importance of routinely assessing the risks on the farm and encouraging farmers to take farm safety more seriously. The roadshow also hosted a wide variety of health organisations with ‘MOT’ checks for farmers on offer, which included blood pressure and diabetes tests.