HSA highlighting farm safety as children begin school holidays

The safety of children on farms as the summer holidays approach is being highlighted in a new appeal from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The HSA, along with the Irish Primary Principles’ Network (IPPN), has called on primary schools to promote “a strong farm safety message” to their pupils before they break for summer.

The safety authority is stressing that summer is a high-risk time for children being involved in farm accidents, with children spending more time at home on their family farm or visiting others, coinciding with an increase of activity on many farms.

In its appeal, launched today, Thursday, June 13, the HSA and the IPPN explained the stark fact that 21 children have lost their lives in the last decade as a result of farm accidents.

That figure represents 10% of all farm fatalities over that period, the HSA said.

The authority is reminding primary school teachers that: “Farms are the only workplace in Ireland where children still continue to die.

“Farm deaths involving children are always a horrific tragedy for families, and heart-breaking for communities and schools alike,” a HSA statement added.

The authority says that it has a number of resources on its website for teachers to use in the classroom to highlight farm safety to their students.

These resources are designed to be used in an “interactive, fun and stimulating way” for the students.

“These can be run on the classroom whiteboard or printed off to photocopy. The HSA’s e-learning portal also hosts a short course entitled Keep Safe on the Farm’. This is aimed at primary school children and comes with teachers’ guidelines,” explained Joanne Harmon, business and education support manager at the HSA.

She added: “Farm safety is an explicit topic in the SPHE curriculum at primary level. Schools can make a real difference by empowering children to raise their own awareness of farm hazards, and encouraging them to bring the safety message home to parents and grandparents.”

Teachers can access the online resources here. The ‘Keep Safe on the Farm’ course can be found here.