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HomeFarming News‘Derek’s story highlights that while many farms are workplaces, they are also...
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Derek’s story highlights that while many farms are workplaces, they are also family homes’

It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery, or slurry.

That is the message Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, has issued to the farming community as part of Farm Safety Week.

Livestock, machinery and slurry 

Since January 2015, there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland.

“That is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety.”

“By taking some simple precautions, we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.

“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring.”

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“Also, I know that all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you are not careful with your equipment and your surroundings. I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant.”

Children on farms

To mark the week-long annual event, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons met with farmer, Derek Robinson. His son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: 

“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are workplaces, they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations.”

“With school summer holidays upon us, it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”

“Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.”

Appropriate equipment

The HSENI urges the farming community to use the appropriate equipment for all jobs, as it might just save a life.

The message comes as part of Farm Safety Week, which runs from Monday, July 19th, 2021.

Figures show that farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.

The HSENI said the lack of proper equipment and machinery, far too often injuries and fatalities.

HSENI encourages the farming community to consider that the cost of a fatality is much more than the cost of using the correct equipment.

Falls from height remains one of the main causes of fatalities and major injuries on our farms. Many are due to the lack of the proper equipment being used.

‘Wake up’ to tiredness

Furthermore, the HSENI encourages farmers to ‘wake up’ to the issue of tiredness during their daily routines.

HSENI chief executive, Robert Kidd, said:

“Tiredness and fatigue can have serious consequences within the farming community, and can lead to minor and major injuries and even fatality.”

Overworking can lead to conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders, work-related stress, and decreased awareness.

In turn, this can lead to incidents, so it is important not to underestimate the risks of tiredness.

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