Children’s Safety On Farms A Priority As School Holidays Begin

As the Scottish schools begin to break up for the summer, NFU Scotland is reminding farmers and crofters of the dangers when allowing children onto and around farmland.

The warning comes ahead of Farm Safety Week, which takes place from 16 to 20 July, when farmers, crofters, their families and their staff will be urged to improve the farm safety figures in Scotland.

The Union, working in conjunction with Farm Safety Partnership Scotland, will be issuing case studies throughout Farm Safety Week of farmers in industry as well as agricultural based organisations who specialise in specific areas of farm safety, highlighting different incidence of good and bad practice.

Farm Safety Week will focus on the strapline; Your Health. Your Safety. Your Choice.

An accident on farm can be life changing, both for those involved and their family. It is even more devastating when it involves children, which is why the Union is urging farmers and crofters this summer to be extra vigilant and take every precaution to make their farms and crofts safer for children.  We all know how fantastic it can be to grow up on a farm, however, with the tragic death of several children on Scotland’s farms in recent years, the industry needs to take action to stop further deaths and injury.

Farm Safety Partnership Scotland – a collaboration between NFU Scotland, Health and Safety Executive, Scottish Government and NFU Mutual – is working to significantly reduce the tragic toll on Scotland’s farms and crofts each year.

During Farm Safety week, the initiative will use case studies to highlight the following dangers:

  • Livestock – Ian Pirie of Maud
  • Quad bike/machinery – Jimmy and Carol-Anne Warnock of Lanark
  • Overhead powerlines – Peter Brown of Fife
  • Children – Carole Brunton, RHET
  • Mental health/wellbeing – Mags Granger, RSABI

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Any death or injury on a farm is one too many, especially when it involves a child. We need to work together, as an industry, to make sure that we are constantly improving the safety on farms.

“It is so important that farmers and crofters are constantly looking at their farms and crofts and thinking about how they improve the safety, for themselves, their family, their workforce and any possible visitors.

“As someone who raised children on a farm I can say from experience that I believe there is no better place to have a childhood. Which is why we need to ensure that these environments are as safe as they possibly can be. During the school holidays I urge farmers and crofters to be vigilant of children playing on their farms and to amend any safety issues which may need addressed.

“Most people working within the agricultural industry will be able to recall a close call that could so easily have resulted in serious injury or even fatality. By adopting some simple steps as part of everyday working practices we can reduce the number of accidents and deaths on Scotland’s farms.

“We are grateful to those who have given the time to tell their stories in the hope that others will learn from their mistakes. It’s all too easy to cut corners to save time, but this can have serious, and sometimes fatal consequences. Please take care and make your safety, and that of those around you a priority.”

Top tips for working safely with children on farms and crofts:

  • A farmyard is not a playground so establish rules about what young people can and can’t do on the farm.
  • Keep children away from farm machinery and moving vehicles.
  • Children under 13 years old must not drive or operate tractors or other farm machinery.
  • Children under 13 years old must not ride as passengers on tractors, ATVs or other farm machinery.
  • Ensure drivers have a clear view of corners and install mirrors to increase visibility if necessary
  • Make sure slurry pits and tanks are securely fenced and inaccessible to prevent children from getting near the area.

Notes for Editors

  • Farm Safety Week was first launched in 2013 and aims to cut the toll of accidents which give agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland. This year’s Farm Safety Week is being supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.
  • Farm Safety Week takes place from July 16 to 20, 2018 and case studies will be available during this week, please contact [email protected].
  • If using social media to promote Farm Safety Week please use the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek

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