Work or leisure – stay safe in the countryside

Date published: 22 July 2021

The Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland (HSENI) is encouraging everyone to take care when in the countryside. The message comes in support of Farm Safety Week (19-23 July) as a timely reminder to those who work and farm in the countryside, and to those who visit for recreation.

Picture of a cow

HSENI Chief Executive Robert Kidd said: “The countryside offers many attractions all year around. Camping, fishing, general sight-seeing and walking, especially in the summertime, it attracts an increasing number of visitors.   

“Our advice is simple. Always be mindful of the natural dangers and hazards that exist in the countryside.  

“Farm animals may look friendly, but they are not pets. All animals present a risk and can quickly become agitated and aggressive when disturbed. Large animals, such as bulls, cows and calves can cause serious injury or even death. 

“By following the Countryside Code, and respecting private farm land, everyone can enjoy a safe and enjoyable visit.” 

The farming community plays a vital role and they are being asked to continue with their work in helping keep everyone safe by erecting warning signs advising of local dangers such as hedge cutting; ensuring all gates are closed; and taking extra care when operating farm vehicles on public roads. 

Visitors to the countryside should keep to marked paths. Cyclists, and horse riders, should ensure that they can be seen by others by wearing bright, contrasting clothing by day and reflective clothing at night. 

The Countryside Code can be found under Resources at:

Notes to editors: 

1. Farm Safety Week 2021 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.

2. 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.

3. 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).

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.

5. 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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