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O'Neill issues farm safety warning

5 July, 2011 - by Michelle O'Neill

Farming Minister Michelle O'Neill MLA has stressed the importance of farm safety to farmers over the summer months.

Reminding farm families about the risks to farm safety over the summer, the Minister said: “Summer can be a very busy time for the farmer. With a lot of crop harvesting and various agricultural activities underway, it is essential that farmers ensure safety is paramount at all times.

“As school children's summer holidays begin this week, I want to raise awareness amongst farm families of the risks on the farm at this time of year and remind them to exercise extra caution to keep children as safe as possible during busy spells over the holidays. I appeal to the rural population to increase safety precautions on-farm and ensure that everyone, particularly young children are kept a safe distance from equipment or physical farming activities at all times.”

Outlining the support available to improve farm safety, the Minister said: “Any farm families who require advice or assistance on how to improve safety on their farms can get help and guidance from my Department. For example, CAFRE offers training throughout the year on safe tractor driving, safe use of ATVs and telescopic handlers and safe use of pesticides and sheep dips.”

In conclusion, the Minister said: “Safety must come first on the farm this summer to ensure that everyone is safe and enjoys the summer. No family wants to go through the heartbreak of having a child killed or injured this summer. Advice on a range of farm safety issues for farming families is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

"I would ask everyone in the farming community to keep an extra eye out this year for not only children, but also elderly neighbours and visitors who may not be familiar with farming equipment or practice to keep everyone safe on-farm ."

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