Farm stories

We think accidents will never happen to us but these are true stories covering the main areas farmers work in every day. Stop and Think SAFE - don't become another tragic story.


Mixing slurry gases

Farmers frequently enter buildings to determine if slurry is being mixed at the opposite end of the house from where the pump is located. This is a dangerous practice as the pump will direct the slurry and the gas to the furthest point in large quantities. This situation is often encountered in many of the reported incidents, with the cattle collapsing in the pen furthest away from the mixing point.

One such incident occurred in the Kilkeel area during 2010. A farmer from Annalong, Co Down had started to mix his slurry tank with the help of his neighbour. He had made the decision not to remove the cattle from the house before mixing commenced. A short time after the slurry pump had started his neighbour noticed cattle going down in the pen furthest away from the main door. The farmer had gone to the cattle in an effort to save them but he too collapsed. The neighbour saw what happened, stopped the slurry pump and made his way to where the farmer was lying. He dragged the farmer up the feed passage towards the exit door and outside. The farmer’s son arrived on the scene and helped the neighbour get his father to safety. An ambulance was called and the farmer spent some time in hospital before being released. A number of bulls were lost in the incident but it could have been much worse with the loss of human life, not only the farmer, but also others trying to save him.


Older farmer killed by a bull

An older farmer was killed in an incident, involving a bull, at a farm during the summer. The farmer had gone into a field to check the cows and calves when he was attacked by the bull. The farmer was in the middle of the field when he was attacked and did not have a tractor or four wheel drive vehicle in the field to act as a refuge from the bull.

Older farmer crushed by a cow

An elderly farmer died when he was attacked by a cow. The 76 year old man had gone into a pen with a cow and her recently born calf to check the calf. When the farmer was trying to lift the calf the cow attacked him and the farmer was crushed by the cow. The agitated cow is understood to have turned on the farmer.


Fall from a ladder

A farmer died when he fell from a ladder while he was building an extension to a farm shed. The pressure of the ladder on the upright it was propped against caused the structure to collapse and when the farmer fell one of the beams in the roof he was constructing fell and struck him on the head causing fatal injuries.  The farmer should have used scaffolding or or other suitable equipment to enable him to work safely when carrying out this task.

Fall through a fragile roof

A 54 year old farmer died in hospital after he fell 6m (20ft) through the roof of a shed while clearing out guttering which had become blocked with leaves and debris. The farmer had correctly secured the ladder, but stepped on a roof light as he was working. The roof light gave way and the farmer fell onto cubicles below.


Power take-off (PTO) accident

A farmer died as a result of injuries sustained when he became entangled in the unguarded PTO shaft of a tractor and slurry tanker. The tanker was not filling properly, so the farmer was working at the front of the pump on the tanker when he became caught up by the shaft.

This accident could have been avoided by making sure that the PTO guard and the “O – guard” on the front of the pump were in place and in good condition as well as switching off the tractor before carrying out repairs or adjustments to the pump.

Tractor handbrake incident

A 34 year old farm worker was crushed to death under the wheels of a tractor with a faulty handbrake. The man got out of the tractor on slightly sloping ground to open a gate. He should have switched off the engine and put on the handbrake when he got out of the tractor, but instead, he left the tractor in neutral and did not apply the handbrake because it was not working. The vehicle was in a poor condition and there were problems starting the engine.