Importance of farm safety
Eight farmers have lost their lives while working on Northern Ireland farms so far in 2012.
In the most recent incident last week, an 82-year old died in a farm accident in Lisburn. Farming is fast cementing its unwanted position as the most dangerous occupation in Britain and Ireland.
According to Malcolm Downey, who heads up the farm safety team within the Health and Safety Executive for NI (HSENI) these farm deaths are needless and could be prevented.
He said: "The key to improvement lies in creating a culture in which farmers routinely assess the risks and consider how to manage them before they begin work.
Health and safety on farms doesn't just happen -- it needs to be managed."
At next week's Clogher Valley Show, HSENI will be ramping up their farm safety message with a demonstration to highlight the dangers of unprotected power take-off shafts.
They will also be providing information and guidance on how to improve general safety around farms.
Responding to the most recent farm fatalities, UFU president Harry Sinclair urged all farm family members to re-double their efforts to make farm safety a priority.
Earlier this year, the UFU, DARD and HSENI launched a farm safety partnership to raise awareness.
This highlighted four specific areas of risk on farms:
Be careful working with livestock - plan an escape route.
Be careful working with machinery - keep in good condition.
Be alert to the dangers of slurry.
Avoid working from heights.
Sinclair said "I would urge all farm family members to discuss farm safety and consider what extra steps could be taken to make sure a serious farm accident is avoided.
Farms are very busy at this time of year, so we would urge all our members to be vigilant."
At the start of his presidency, Sinclair put improving farm safety right at the top of his list of priorities for his two-year term in office.
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