Farm Safety Week - HSENI praises modern technology in the farming industry

Date published: 23 July 2020

During this Farm Safety Week, HSENI would like to highlight the importance of technology in the farming industry.

Education is the key to driving good behaviours in the farming industry, and giant strides have been made in technology for safe computer-based agricultural training which contributes to the farm safety message.

In January 2020, the Farm Safety Foundation, or Yellow Wellies as they are also known, introduced a virtual reality-based session to their education programme to address these concerns and challenge the assumption that Health and Safety training is boring and repetitive.

The ability to experience any training in 360 degrees is invaluable and memorable and to deliver training that may actually save lives and limbs in the future makes it even more important. Imagine future farmers viewing a working farm and its real risks from all angles without leaving the classroom. This is what the Farm Safety Foundation developed and are delivering to students in 30 land-based colleges and universities throughout the UK.

Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation, said: We are all committed to improving this dismal safety record in the farming industry, where sharing pledges online and talking about it is not enough anymore.

“We need action, we need education and we need to engage farmers at their level. Farmers do not want to be preached to. They are busy professionals so we need to really think about how we can engage them so the time and attention they give us will create impact, drive a change and save lives.

“This new virtual training gives the farming community an opportunity to learn the farm safety skills needed whilst learning in a safe environment.”

Also, in February this year, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA officially launched Northern Ireland’s first ever tractor driving simulators at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus. The two new simulators aim to improve safety both on and off the road, as well as enhance skills and build confidence in a real, working environment.

George Moffett, Head of Agriculture Education at CAFRE said: “The investment in tractor simulator technology is an exciting enhancement to the curriculum, enabling learners to develop confidence and competence in a range of machinery operations”

The simulators provide learners, particularly those with limited prior experience, with the opportunity to operate tractors, material handlers and other agricultural machinery in a simulated, controlled and safe environment. Learners can receive reports on their driving techniques and when the two simulators are used in tandem, can practice many of the machinery operations on farms.

Further information on the education and training courses available at CAFRE can be found at

Notes to editors: 

1. For more information on the Farm Safety Partnership please contact HSENI on 0800 0320 121 or visit the FSP webpage: 

2. Farm Safety Week 2020 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 highlights our new ‘Farm Safe Essentials’  message.

4. 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, 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.

5. 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).

6. 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.

7. 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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