Farming’s poor safety record remains a major concern, writes UFU president, David Brown.
It is extremely concerning that ten years on from the first Farm Safety Week, farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.
The annual campaign by the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies), running from July 18th-22nd 2022, is important.
There is much-needed work that still needs to be done to ensure farm families make their health and wellbeing a priority daily.
Over the past ten years, the Farm Safety Foundation supported by the UFU and other organisations, have done an incredible amount of work to bring farm safety to the forefront, urging farmers to be conscious of their own health and well-being when working on farm 365 days a year.
While progress has been made in some areas, it is undeniable that we still have a long way to go to create positive, behavioural change on farm across the board.
Over the past year alone, six families in Northern Ireland and an additional 25 in Great Britain have been left utterly devastated by the loss of a loved one due to a tragic farming accident.
With so much on the agenda, coupled with time and weather pressures, farmers often begin work without thinking if they are doing so in the safest way, just to complete the job.
We can get so caught up in what needs to be done on the farm and the general busyness of life, that we do not consider that a farm accident could take place on our farm, either to ourselves or a loved one.
Every day brings risk for a farmer, from working with unpredictable livestock to high pressured equipment.
We need to be constantly aware of that, taking a moment to think about the safest way to get the job completed.
It only takes a split second for a life-changing fatality or injury to happen.
Too many farmers have been seconds or inches away from a devastating accident which would have left a farming family and community totally heartbroken.
We need improvement on farm safety to happen much quicker to prevent more tragic farm accidents.
Everyone has a role to play to ensure no more farming families have to experience the untimely death of a loved one on farm.
We need to make impactful behavioural changes today, setting a good example for those around us and to make our farming industry a safer environment for everyone.
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