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Gildernew urges caution on the farm over summer holidays

2 July, 2009

Farming Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has highlighted the issue of farm safety to farmers and appealed for increased safety at this time of the year.

Discussing her concerns the Minister said: “With the children now off for their summer holidays, combined with a busy time on the farm, I would encourage everyone to adopt a safety first approach. I would also like to highlight the assistance available from my Department to help farm families increase their safety around the farm.

“Farms can be very dangerous places at peak times over the summer and I appeal to the rural population to increase safety precautions on-farm and ensure that particularly young children are at a safe distance from equipment or physical farming activities at all times.

“I would particularly like to highlight the training offered by CAFRE on safe tractor driving, telescopic handlers, manual handling and pesticide application. In addition to these courses DARD’s Veterinary Service, over the coming months, will highlight ways to reduce the risks associated with cattle handling. Anyone seeking further advice on cattle handling facilities should contact their local Divisional Veterinary Office.

“The advice of the Health and Safety Executive is vital at this time of the year and I urge everyone involved in farming to heed and follow their potentially life-saving guidance.”

Supporting the Minister’s appeal, Health & Safety Executive (HSENI) Board Member and sheep farmer Crosby Cleland said: “It is a sad but true fact that farming has a very poor safety record. Everyone should get behind the efforts made by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) to promote farm safety. I would particularly ask you to find out about and support two particular campaigns being run by HSENI, one aimed at older farmers known as “Older, Wiser, Safer?”, and one aimed at young children known as “Be Aware Kids”.

”I urge all farmers to be particularly vigilant at this time of year when harvesting silage and when working with livestock. Taking simple steps can prevent you, your family or your employees from being injured or even killed. So please ensure that all your machinery and tractors are well maintained. Train and supervise all our young farmers. Provide a safe play area for young children and try to persuade the older farmer that he may need help to do something, or indeed, that it may be safer to leave it to someone a bit younger.”

The Minister concluded by emphasising: ‘’I don’t want any family to go through the heartbreak of having a child killed or injured this summer, please take care to avoid danger.’’

Further information on courses at CAFRE can be found at the attached web link or by contacting the Short Course Administration Team at 028 9442 6704. If you would like advice from HSENI or would like more information on their campaigns call HSENI on freephone 0800 0320 121, or visit its website at”

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