On the ten-year anniversary of Farm Safety Week (18-22 July), the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) welcomes the strengthening of its links with the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF), as they lead this annual event which takes place across the UK, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
On the first day of this year’s Farm Safety Week, the FSP is promoting an invaluable piece of work conducted by the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) which is a detailed study into 50 years’ worth of statistics on Farm Fatalities across Northern Ireland.
This dataset is bespoke to HSENI and with AFBI’s analysis of the data, the Farm Safety Partners can use this to target certain age groups of farmers who are at risk, key areas where incidents are more frequently occurring. Pin-point trends in the data e.g., seasons or days of the week and use all of this to prevent future incidents and fatalities occurring on our farms.
Some of the key points taken from this research includes:
- Vehicles and equipment are still the primary cause of deaths on a farm although their incidence has decreased likely due to more formal training for young people & improvements in machinery safety standards
- Fatal incidents involving animals are on the increase
- There is a higher rate of fatal incidents on farms which involves farmers aged over 65 years
- Farm incidents involving children occur outside school periods e.g., Sunday
- Older farmers are more likely to be involved in an incident during busy periods
- Farm fatality rates are the highest around mid-year and the lowest at the beginning/end of the year when farming is less intense
Agriculture is still one of the most hazardous industrial sectors in terms of fatal accidents right across the world.
In NI, the FSP has been actively engaged in initiatives aimed at improving farm safety standards and reducing incidents, including ongoing advertising campaigns such as ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ and ‘Farm Safe Essentials’.
Through ongoing partnership working, research and focusing on the root causes of fatal incidents, the Farm Safety Partnership will continue to strive to reach zero fatal incidents on farms.
Camilla Mackey, head of HSENI’s Agri-Food team said: “Farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation in Northern Ireland, this is unacceptable, and it is very important that we continue to work with our farm safety partners to try and improve safety standards.
“The work undertaken by AFBI is invaluable to the FSP, although it shows the fatal incident statistics have generally levelled, this is not good enough. There are still 6/7 fatalities on average per year on our farms. We need to drive home to the farming community that all farm accidents are avoidable. There must be a behavioural change and farmers must take responsibility for their actions to keep themselves and their families safe.”
Further information on the Farm Safety Partnership can be found at https://www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/farm-safety-partnership and on the Farm Safety Foundation at https://www.yellowwellies.org/
The AFBI report on farm fatalities can be found at:
Notes to editors:
- The ‘Be Aware Kids – child safety on farms’ campaign is the largest initiative in NI to engage with children on the issue of farm safety. The programme has been running since 1999 and is extremely well known in the farming industry. This initiative includes the annual ‘Avoid Harm on the Farm’ Poster Competition, which has been running since 2003.
- 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), The Farm Safety Foundation (FSF), 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.
- The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department for the Economy (DfE).
- HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.
- For media enquiries please contact HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email email@example.com. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
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