The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has appealed to farmers to exercise caution when working with slurry lagoons following a recent incident.
An NIE (Northern Ireland Electricity Networks) contractor fell into a slurry lagoon during a farm visit in Northern Ireland.
Contactor slurry lagoon incident
Leonie Rae, safety officer at NIE Networks, said, “In the course of our work duties at NIE Networks, we are required to cross agricultural ground and farmyards.”
“A recent incident involving one of our patrollers falling into a slurry tank reminds us of the dangers we face on farmyards.”
“Wherever possible, we expect our staff to speak to the landowner to identify and discuss the risks before entering. When speaking to our staff, please inform them of any risks regarding livestock, vehicles, farm machinery pits or tanks. “
“However, as contact is not always possible, it is important to ensure that action is taken if there is a risk of injury, especially from falls into tanks or pits. By working together, we can protect our staff and others when accessing farmyards to carry out work.
The UFU said farm safety continues to be a top priory. Slurry-related incidents are one of the most common causes of accidents on-farm.
Therefore, the group believes continuous effort is needed to ensure a long-term and sustainable reduction in all accidents related to agricultural activities.
‘The outcome could have been different’
UFU deputy president David Brown said, “Thankfully, the NIE contractor was not seriously injured after falling into the slurry lagoon; however, the outcome could have been very different.”
“Slurry lagoons are one of the most dangerous areas on-farm. I urge all our members who have one on their yard or land to ensure that it is correctly secured and signposted. This is vital to keep themselves, their family members and farm visitors safe when they are on their premises.”
“Farms continue to be one of the most dangerous working environments due to the risk when working with slurry, machinery and livestock, amongst other things.”
“Communication, both verbal and through on-farm signage, can be the difference between a fatal accident happening and preventing one,” Brown concluded.