Opinion

Make children’s safety a priority during the 2021 slurry season

The coming weeks will see all of Ireland’s rural areas echoing to the sound of slurry mixers and tractors drawing tankers from yards to fields.

All of this activity has an inherently high danger risk associated with it, so it’s imperative that farmers and contractors fully recognise this fact as they get on with the business in hand.

Adding to the safety challenge associated with the upcoming slurry spreading season is the fact that almost all of our children are off school. And, of course, these young people have very inquiring minds. It’s only natural that they would want to get a close up view of all the action taking place.

In truth, keeping children safe is an ongoing priority for every farming family.

Awareness

Safety awareness is now a 24/7 challenge on farms throughout Ireland. The size of the equipment used and the number of livestock maintained on most farms today, is making this a reality.

Given this backdrop, it is right and proper to conclude that farm safety awareness is helping to define agriculture in Ireland – north and south. And that is the way it should be.

Thankfully, there is a growing awareness that safety is an issue that must permeate every aspect of a farm business.

In the past, there would have been very little discussion about safety-related matters in farming circles. Today, in total contrast, it is an issue that dominates discussion in both rural areas and across all our air waves.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a momentum that must be maintained.

Avoid accidents

No accident is intentional. But, at the same time, every accident is avoidable. And, of course, one accident is one too many.

We know that factors such as poor prices, poor weather and stress can predispose farmers to the greater risk of accidents taking place. Time pressure is also a growing factor in this regard.

But, at the end of the day, avoiding accidents is all about taking that extra second or two to check over a piece of machinery or weighing up the risks associated with a particular activity.

Children, however, are the exception to this rule. They do not have the level of life experience to allow them to fully determine where danger lies. It’s up to parents and guardians to make these decisions on their behalf.