I have been working on raising awareness of farm safety and with it being farm safety week 2018 I have been telling anyone who will listen that farm safety week provides an opportunity for all farmer’s young and old, to stop and take stock of safety on their farm. We need to build on the good work that has been done and turn that into real and sustained change in safety behaviour. I have been working with local radio and the media to try and raise awareness of what people should be doing on farm to help prevent and avoid accidents. The first question I always get asked is who should be responsible for farm safety, most people point straight to the primary farmer but actually the answer is much more simplistic. EVERYONE, even you, yes ultimately the primary farmer is the one who is liable but not solely responsible. If you’re on a farm and you see a hazard, do something, tell someone, make it safe! Do whatever is reasonable, acceptable and practical to reduce the risk and if you’re not sure tell the farmer anyway, it’s better to take up a few minutes of the farmer’s time if it prevents and accident.
We have now had over 10 weeks of pretty much continuous sunshine which has led to lots of stressed farmers who will be running around trying to get the work done. Meanwhile we now have the children home from school, maybe cousins visiting, we have hot dry weather and brighter evenings, friends over to play – all these things contribute to the likelihood of children being outdoors.
“There is nothing wrong with that, more sunshine hopefully means less screen time!!
“However, on the flip side, the seasonal nature of farming work over the summer months means long hours, more machinery in use and greater work pressures on farmers to get hay and harvest in,” I stole these top tips as some else had already done the work but they all great advice:
· Make sure children are never alone on the farm;
· When specific work, such as slurry agitation is planned, tell your family, team and any visitors to stay away and why;
· Use farm visits as an opportunity to explain the dangers of tractors and animals;
· Set age-appropriate ground rules on where your allowed to go;
· Explain the warning signs with animal behaviour;
· Explain what the various symbols mean on toxic materials;
· Set up a dedicated play area for children and drunk people – farmyards are not playgrounds;
· Have an action plan in the event of an emergency;
· Keep your first-aid kit stocked and accessible;
· Show your children how you prevent farm accidents;
Most of all try and find your own safe solutions. One farmer I know still shouts out the window of the old tractor before reversing around the barn out of habit (the kids moved out years ago) if you have a modern tractor make sure you use your mirrors and think about installing some stationary mirrors on buildings to help with visibility, it’s the little things that can really make a difference as you truly never know what’s around that next corner.