Ballymena Today appreciate that lots of our local readers are farmers or live in the country. That is why from time to time we focus on farm safety. The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) is inviting farmers, families and ballymena folks involved in farming to support Farm Safety Week – 6 to 10 July 2015.

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD; Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD; Creative Commons

The Farm Safety Partnership is a self-financed collaboration of organisations with an influence over health and safety in agriculture. They have been promoting safety on farms since 2013. Here is some more information about Farm Safety Week:

Farm Safety Week is supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Health & Safety Authority, Ireland, and aims to cut the toll of accidents which gives agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.


In Northern Ireland alone, there have been 100 confirmed farming deaths since the year 2000 to the end of May 2015.

Each day of Farm Safety Week will highlight themed practical advice and guidance for farmers. They will be encouraged to take five minutes to assess safety around particular routine jobs, so that they don’t learn safety by accident.

The daily farm safety themes for Northern Ireland are as follows:

Monday – Falls (from height)
Tuesday – Machinery (for example, PTO shafts)
Wednesday – Slurry
Thursday – Crush injuries (from livestock)
Friday – Child safety
The week will also feature powerful farm accident survivor stories – two from local farmers.

William Sayers from County Tyrone relates how as a boy on his family farm he lost an arm, and almost his life, when he was in an accident involving an unguarded PTO shaft.

Alexander Martin was seriously injured when attacked by a bull on his County Down farm. Alexander admits he was lucky not to be killed but he was unable to work properly for months and had to hire in help to keep his farm going.

Urging the farming community to get behind the latest safety drive, Chairman of the FSP George Lucas said:

“While I appreciate that farming activity is at full capacity over these busy summer months, there is still no excuse to ignore safety. By doing so, farmers put themselves, their workers and their families at risk. Safety must never be an afterthought and by taking just a few minutes to think about the job ahead, preventable accidents can be easily avoided. On behalf of the partnership I would also like to thank the survivors who bravely told their stories to help others stay safe by learning from their painful experiences – please listen.”

To find out more about the Farm Safety Partnership’s ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ campaign, or general farming health and safety issues in Northern Ireland, please contact the HSENI helpline on: 0800 0320 121 or click here to visit the Farmsafe website.