In this article, FRS discusses farm accidents, farm safety resources from the IFA, Agri-Kids, Teagasc, Agri Aware and the HSA and its tractor driving courses.
The months of June, July and August are traditionally busy times on Irish farms. From moving cattle to drawing silage, farmers need to complete an endless list of jobs.
During this time, children are also off school and spending more time on the farm. In some cases, children may be asked to help with certain jobs, but it is important to remember a farm is a dangerous workplace regardless of age and ability.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Authority show that there were 21 fatalities involving children from 2010 – 2020.
76% of fatalities were caused by a tractor or other farm vehicles. A further 9% was caused by machinery on the farm.
With such high numbers involving farm vehicles and machines, farmers, farmworkers and parents/guardians need to be aware of the regulations and guidelines regarding children.
Young children should always be supervised and kept away from slurry pits, moving machines and animals.
Know the regulations for children
Farmers and farmworkers should always be notified if children are paying a visit to the yard. Regulations state that children between the ages of 7 and 16 can only ride on a tractor if it has a properly designed and fitted passenger seat (with seat belts) inside a safety cab or frame.
A child under 7-years-old should not be inside the cab of a tractor, regardless of a fitted passenger seat.
A person must be aged 14 or over to drive a tractor or self-propelled vehicle in line with legal requirements. These include attending training provided by a competent provider, like FRS Training.
They must be closely supervised by an adult and only work (if they are competent) on level ground free from hazards. For example, riverbanks, ponds and lakes or steep slopes, excavations, and deep ditches.
Stay educated – farm safety resources
Education is key, and noticing signs of danger will help in reducing farm accidents and fatalities. A number of resources can help farmers, farming families, and the general public learn about the dangers of a farm.
Some may be familiar with the below. However, FRS recommends refreshing your knowledge of farm safety and staying safe this summer.
Irish Farmers’ Association
The Irish Farmers’ Association is best known for its role in representing Irish farmers at home and in Europe. However, they are also active promoters of farm safety and best practice. Their latest campaign covers farm safety this silage season. You can find out more on their website.
Health and Safety Authority
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the national body in Ireland responsible for occupational health and safety.
With farming classified as a high-risk occupation, they have a full section on its website dedicated to agriculture & forestry. Also, they have a category for children and the elderly on farms. You can visit their website for more information.
AgriAware is an Irish agri-food educational body the Irish farming and agri-food industry funds.
From live events to online resources, they have helpful information specifically tailored to both primary and secondary school children. You can read more on their website.
Teagasc is known for providing research, advice and education in agriculture, horticulture, food and rural development in Ireland.
With lots of helpful information about farming, Teagasc also has a resource for children with printable games and fun science experiments. See their website for more.
Lastly, Agri-Kids are a great online platform that educates children, teachers, and parents on farm safety.
With resources for both school and at home, there are several quizzes, games and an app for children to engage with.
Tractor driving with FRS Training
FRS Training provides a fully accredited tractor driving training course covering functions, symbols, controls, driving, and health & safety. There are a number of tractor driving courses available from this month (June 2021).