All farm accidents are tragic and the major or fatal injuries caused by them can have devastating effects on farming families and communities. By following simple advice and guidance you can help prevent these incidents from happening on your farm.
Stop and Think SAFE
The 'Stop and Think SAFE' farm safety campaign aims to tackle the four main causes of fatalities and major injuries on local farms.
'SAFE' stands for - Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment.
The campaign was developed by the Farm Safety Partnership to put an end to the high rates of serious incidents and deaths on Northern Ireland's farms.
You can find out more about the campaign and view the powerful TV and radio adverts on the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) website.
Farm Safe Essentials
The HSENI has developed eight 'Farm Safe Essentials' aimed at reducing the number of serious and fatal incidents about often recurring causes.
Those working on farms are encouraged to take these simple precautions to prevent injury and death and to embed that behaviour in future working practices.
The essentials safety messages include tractor maintenance, bull safety, slurry safety, working at height, quad bike safety, safety around calving, livestock and stacking bales safely.
Slurry gas is a mixture of gases, including:
- carbon dioxide
- hydrogen sulphide
One of the most dangerous gases is hydrogen sulphide which is toxic to people and animals.
Before spreading, slurry is usually mixed in a tank and it is at this stage that the dangerous gases are produced.
Farmers must always assume gas is present during mixing.
To make sure you and others are safe during mixing you must follow the safe slurry mixing code.
You must keep children away from areas where mixing is done, take all animals out of the shed, open all the doors and vents on the sheds and try to mix tanks on a windy day.
The full safe slurry mixing code is at the following link:
There is always a potential for danger when working with animals on farms. Care needs to be taken in providing proper and well-maintained handling facilities, especially for cattle.
Gates and fences need to be kept in good condition and bulls should be held 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.
When working with livestock always plan your escape route, try to work in pairs and cull aggressive or difficult cattle as soon as possible.
Before starting any work at height you must first consider if you can do the job yourself and if you have the right equipment for the job.
You must think about what you are going to do before you start and plan the job safely.
If using ladders you must make sure they are securely footed and tied.
Never go onto a fragile or corroded roof.
If you are a farm owner you must make sure that all equipment is safe and ready for use.
Check that all power take-off (PTO) shaft guards are fully in tact, including the “O” guard on the machine side, the “U” guard on the tractor and the main shaft guard.
Make sure brakes and steering are properly maintained 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.
Farm safety and children
Children are particularly vulnerable because of their immaturity, lack of awareness of risks, and inexperience.
Young children must be properly supervised when out on the farm and kept away from places where vehicles are moving. A segregated play area is essential where children live close to or on a working farm yard.
For more information on child safety on farms visit the HSENI website - it has a section with information for parents, teachers and children:
Farm accident survivor stories
HSENI has made a series of powerful survivor stories which feature local farmers recalling their very serious farm incidents and how their lives have been affected as a result of them.
You can find out more and view the videos at the following HSENI web page: