Farm Safety Partnership urges caution during COVID-19

Date published: 06 April 2020

The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) has urged the farming community to exercise extreme care and attention during these very challenging times.

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation for everyone in Northern Ireland with severe pressure being placed on our health and emergency services. No-one wants an incident on their farm but at this point in time our health service cannot cope with any additional strain being put on them, therefore the FSP are asking all farmers and their families to please stop and think SAFE before you do any job. This is especially important considering that children are out and about on our farms now more frequently and with our older family members potentially self-isolating this can put additional strain on families. You must ensure that you do not take any unnecessary risks at this time when working on your farms.

Farming is a vital part of the Northern Ireland structure and economy. Farmers must continue working and producing essential foodstuffs on a daily basis, the FSP recognise this but they are reminding everyone in the community of their commitment to health and safety, and to ensure our farms are safe places to work every day.

Victor Chestnutt, Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU), said: “There is no doubt that our Health Service is under increased pressure at present and is facing challenging times in the days and weeks that lie ahead dealing with patients affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, now more than ever it is extremely important that everyone exercises extreme caution when working on farms in order to reduce the likelihood of a serious incident occurring, and this includes children who must be supervised correctly. 

“All of our Health Services’ resources and staff will be required in the battle against Covid-19 and we really need to reduce the numbers of people presenting at Hospital Accident and Emergency departments having been involved in an incident on a farm, so please I urge you slow down and exercise extreme caution.”

Further information on health and safety issues surrounding slurry, animals, falls and equipment (SAFE) can be found at the following links:


Notes to editors: 

1) 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 Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) and the Farm Safety Foundation. 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.

2) The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department for the Economy (DfE).

3) Current members of the FSP Affiliate Scheme include ABP Group, Asda, Autoline Insurance, Carson McDowell, Dale Farm, Danske bank, Girlguiding Ulster, IOSH NI, Lakeland Dairies, Lantra, Livestock & Meat Commission NI, Northern Counties Co-Operative Enterprises Ltd, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland Safety Group, Polaris Safety Training & Rescue, Power NI and Ulster Bank.

4. For media enquiries please contact HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.


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