Child safety: ‘The unthinkable can happen in seconds’

For the fourth day of Farm Safety Week (today, Thursday, July 19), the focus is on keeping children safe on the farm, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Farms can be family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present.

Tragically, between 2007 and 2016, in Ireland, 23 children lost their lives due to farm accidents.

Commenting on the issue of child safety, IFA Farm Family chairperson Caroline Farrell said: “Summer is a particularly dangerous time for children on farms as they’re off school and are about more when work activity is running at a very high level – often with contractors on-site operating potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery.

“A farm can be a magical place for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered and family relationships are strengthened,” she said.

But it can also be a dangerous place where the unthinkable can happen in a matter of seconds.

“Growing up on a farm brings both challenges and blessings. It builds character and a solid work ethic and creates an attitude of optimism, but it also has its dangers, which is why it is so important to educate children on safety and risks from an early age.”

Agri Aware chairman Richard Richard Moeran added: “It is vital that every possible step is taken to reduce the number of fatalities that happen each year on Irish farms.

“The first step is educating people, especially children. If we can instil in their minds, from an early age, an awareness of the dangers on the farm, and help them to form good farm safety habits, that lesson will be with them for a lifetime.”

Farm Safety Week

Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) have joined forces to drive the Farm Safety Week initiative.

Farm Safety Week started in the UK in 2013 and has grown to include England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The five nations have co-operated for a single purpose: To reduce death and serious injuries in agriculture.

The Farm Safety Week initiative is led by the IFA in Ireland, according to the association.

The message for this year’s campaign is: Your Health. Your Safety. Your Choice.