School chiefs issue farm safety warning ahead of summer holidays

A joint appeal has been made to primary schools to promote a strong farm safety message to children before they break for the summer by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) today, Monday, June 18.

Risk

Summer holidays are a high-risk time for children who are off school and spend a lot of time on their family farm or visiting friends’ and relatives’ farms.

It is also a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done.

Farm accidents have claimed the lives of 23 children in the last decade and account for 11% of all farm fatalities over the period.

Farms remain the only workplace in Ireland where children still continue to die, according to the groups.

Tragedy

Farm deaths involving children are always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for communities and schools alike.

The HSA website has numerous online farm safety resources for teachers to use in the classroom which can be covered in an interactive, fun and stimulating way.

IPPN is supporting the HSA in communicating this important message to its members.

Joanne Harmon, education manager with the HSA, said: “Teachers can access a range of online farm safety resources for primary schools on our website at www.hsa.ie/education, under Teacher Supports and Resources and some are available as gaeilge.

These can be run on the classroom whiteboard or printed off to photocopy. The HSA’s elearning portal also hosts a short course entitled Keep Safe on the Farm which can be found at http://hsalearning.ie.

“This is aimed at primary school children and comes with teachers’ guidelines and is linked to the SPHE curriculum.

Awareness

Harmon added: “Farm safety is an explicit topic in the SPHE curriculum at primary level.

“Schools can make a real difference by empowering children to raising their own awareness of farm hazards and encouraging them to bring the safety message home to parents and grandparents.”