Farm Safety Week – Keep your children safe on farms

Date published: 17 July 2018

Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Health & Safety Authority, Ireland once again join forces to drive the initiative. HSENI annual workplace fatality statistics show some signs of behavioural change but there is still a need to reduce the excessively high rate of accidents in the industry.
Tuesday’s theme – Children on Farms

Be Aware Kids

Farms are usually family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present. Tragically between 2000 and 2017 in Northern Ireland, eleven children have lost their lives due to farm accidents. Whilst there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of children killed since the HSENI ‘Be Aware Kids’ campaign started in 2004, there have still been too many child deaths and injuries on farms in recent years.

Therefore, it is important that we appeal to all of our farming community to look after children whilst on the farm and keep them safe from harm. As we all know summer is a particularly dangerous time for children on farms as they’re off school and are about more when farms are particularly busy.

HSENI Principal Inspector Malcolm Downey said: “On farms, children are naturally curious, but keeping our children safe on those farms is one of the things that everyone agrees is essential. It is really important that our children are educated about safety on the farm so that they are aware of the potential dangers and learn how to avoid them.

“I am making a personal plea to all farm families to make child farm safety a priority, particularly at this busy time with longer evenings during the summer. Please talk about safety as a family and put in place simple, practical measures to make sure your children are safe at all times.

“With this in mind, parents should think about things they can do to help protect children from the dangers.  These include providing young children with a securely fenced-off play area, ensuring unattended vehicles are kept locked, and avoiding playing in busy farmyards. Please prioritise your family’s safety over anything else.”

As a parent there are a number of things you can do to help prevent your child having a farm accident, and HSENI has produced the following checklist to help you out:

  • have a safe and secure play area for young children
  • prevent children from playing in or around farmyards and livestock
  • prevent all children under the age of 13 from riding on tractors and farm machinery
  • a quad must not be used by any person under 16 years, and any person using the quad for agricultural work must have suitable safety and equipment and be adequately trained
  • secure all heavy wheels, gates, heavy equipment and stacked materials to prevent them from toppling over
  • ensure your slurry lagoon is securely fenced to prevent children from gaining access and make sure tank covers are always in place 
  • always keep children well away when mixing slurry
  • keep track of where family members are playing or working and when they are expected back 
  • make sure everyone washes their hands before eating and drinking 
  • keep chemicals locked in a secure store when not in use
  • make sure that guards are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery
  • make sure all family members know what to do in an emergency 
  • prepare a list of emergency contact telephone numbers

For more information on Farm Safety Week visit or follow @yellowwellies on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek

For members of the press who would like to arrange an interview, either with the NI Farm Safety Partnership or with those featured please contact:

Donna McCullough or Joe Livingston, Communications, HSENI
                028 9024 3249      


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.  On 24 April 2018, HSENI launched its ‘Be Aware Kids’ schools poster competition aimed at raising child safety awareness on farms. HSENI received 3,508 entries this year in comparison to 3,296 the previous year. The winning entries will form a schools farm safety calendar for 2019.

5.  HSENI Inspectors visited a total of 85 schools this year within the province, with a programme based on child farm safety. Through these visits, 12,903 pupils received guidance on farms safety.

6. 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.

7. 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).

8. 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 via pager number 076 2397 4383 and your call will be returned.

9. 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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