10% of Air Ambulance call outs related to farm incidents

Date published: 20 July 2018

As part of Farm Safety Week, Keith Morrison, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland met with members of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service and thanked them for their work in saving lives on farms here.

Keith Morrison and the NI Air Ambulance

The Service was set up as a partnership between the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. The Service enables 15 doctors and seven paramedics provided by NIAS to fly on board its aircraft seven days a week bringing advanced clinical interventions, treatments and care to patients all over Northern Ireland before reaching hospital. 

The Air Ambulance had its first tasking on 22 July 2017, and in the first year of its operation, farming incidents have accounted for roughly 10% of their call-outs, including its very first call-out, a young boy aged 11 injured on a farm.

HSENI Chief Executive Keith Morrison said: “The majority of serious injuries and deaths on our farms are caused by slurry, animals, falls or equipment. When serious incidents happen on farm it is critical that the emergency services get to the scene quickly. The invaluable work of the Air Ambulance and our other emergency services saves lives and reduces the impact of the most serious injuries.

“Of the 380 call-outs for the Air Ambulance in its first year of operation around roughly 10% of those have been to farming incidents, including a number of deaths, so we would appeal to the farming community during Farm Safety Week to consider the risks you are taking on a daily basis. Please ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ before starting any job on farm. The Air Ambulance is a vital emergency service, but please do whatever you can to avoid it having to land anywhere near your farm.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. For more information on the Farm Safety Partnership please contact HSENI on 0800 0320 121 or visit the FSP webpage: The Farm Safety Partnership  
  2. Farm Safety Week 2018 is supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.
  3. The Campaign aims to highlight the serious dangers posed by farms and offers themed practical advice and guidance for farmers. This year Farm Safety Week reminds farmers that farm safety is a lifestyle not a slogan.
  4. The NI Air Ambulance is funded by the NI Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance NI Charity, further information for funding and support can be found at http://www.airambulanceni.org/about/ 
  5. The Farm Safety Partnership comprises the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), NFU Mutual (NFUM), the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA). It is tasked with assisting Northern Ireland’s farming community to work safely and tackle the problem of work-related fatalities and injuries on farms.
  6. The Farm Safety Partnership’s ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ farm safety campaign focuses on the four main causes of death and injury on our farms – slurry, animals, falls and equipment (SAFE).
  7. For media enquiries please contact HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email media@hseni.gov.uk. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 2397 4383 and your call will be returned.
  8. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.

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