A children’s book aimed at raising awareness of farm safety, in a year which has seen four child fatalities among the 16 workplace deaths on farms to date has been launched this afternoon.

‘Only a Giant can Lift a Bull’ is the work of 86 primary school children, from all over Ireland, who won the 2013 Health and Safety Authority primary schools’ farm safety story/art competition, organised with support from the 21 full-time education centres. The book has been published by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and will be sent to every primary school and county library in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Croke Park, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: “This book is the work of children themselves, written in their own words with stories and images from their own lives. They tell us how great farming life is and how involved they are in the every-day life of farm work.  They also tell us how dangerous farms can be and many have witnessed their parents, grandparents and others take risks and suffer the awful consequences. I am calling on farmers to take more responsibility, and stop taking unnecessary risks, for their own sake and for the sake of the next generation.”

Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, said: “More than 9,500 children answered the HSA call to tell their stories about farm safety on the farm. We are delighted to be celebrating some of these children here today with the publication of this book. Their stories are funny, moving and life-affirming. Some have written about lessons learnt the hard way. It’s time now to heed this new generation. I would appeal directly to all adults working on farms, particularly parents and grandparents, to think about the example they are showing to children and young people and to always find a way to work and promote farm safety.

We need to see a change of mind set amongst some farmers now, to ensure we don’t create a new generation of risk takers in farming. ”

Pictured participating children with their farm safety story and art work