Farm safety

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 for farming families and communities.

Stop and Think SAFE

The 'Stop and Think SAFE' farm safety campaign aims to tackle the four main causes of fatalities on local farms - Slurry, Animals, Falls (from height) and Equipment – SAFE.

The campaign was developed by the Farm Safety Partnership to help reduce and eradicate the high rates of serious accidents and deaths on Northern Ireland's farms.

You find out more about the campaign and view the powerful TV and radio adverts 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.

Farm safety and children

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 the HSENI website. It has a section which features useful information for parents, teachers and children – including interactive games.

Farm accident survivor stories

HSENI has produced powerful YouTube videos which feature local farmers recalling their serious farm accidents and how these accidents have affected their lives.

You can find out more and view the videos at the following HSENI web page:

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