All farm accidents are sad, but the saddest thing is that they are preventable. By following simple advice you can help prevent accidents that often have devastating consequences.
Stop and Think SAFE
If you live on, work on or are visiting a farm you should be aware of the dangers and take steps to keep yourself and others safe. The main sources of danger include: slurry, animals, falls and equipment.
You can find out more on the website of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI):
Slurry gas is a mixture of gases including methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. The most dangerous part is hydrogen sulphide which is extremely poisonous to people and animals.
Before spreading, slurry is normally mixed in a tank and it is at this stage that dangerous gases are produced. Always assume gas is present during mixing. Make sure all doors and windows are open and that tank openings are properly covered.
Children and animals should be kept out of the area where slurry is stored and mixed.
There is danger in working with animals on farms. Care needs to be taken in providing proper and well maintained handling facilities for cattle.
Gates and fences need to be kept in good condition, and bulls should be kept in a properly designed bull pen.
Freshly calved cows and heifers can be particularly dangerous so make sure they are handled with great care. Never put an inexperienced handler or a child at risk with cattle.
Before starting any work at height make sure you have the right equipment for the job and that you can access the area safely.
Make sure that ladders are securely footed and tied. Do not go onto a fragile or corroded roof as you can fall through, as well as off a roof.
If you are a farmer, or work or live on a farm, you should make sure that all equipment is safe and ready for use.
Check that all power take-off (PTO) shaft guards cover the whole shaft. Make sure brakes and steering are in good condition and that windows and mirrors are clean and in place to provide all round visibility.
Remember, some machines have more than one source of power so isolate electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic systems before you start any repairs or maintenance.
Stay Farm Safe and kids
Children are particularly vulnerable because of their immaturity, lack of awareness of risks, and inexperience.
Young children must be well supervised and kept away from places where vehicles are moving. A segregated play area is essential where children live close to a working farm yard.
If you live on a farm or plan to visit a farm you can find out more about staying safe by visiting HSENI’s Stay Farm Safe website. It has a section which features useful information for parents, teachers and children – including interactive games.
Stop and think SAFE video
You can view the TV advertisement which is part of the 'Stop and Think SAFE' farm safety campaign at the following link: