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December 14, 2011

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Farm families urged to heed child safety messages

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has launched its annual campaign to promote child safety on farms.

The ‘Be Aware Kids’ campaign began in 2004 and aims to eliminate child deaths caused by farming activities. The 2012 initiative was launched last month by HSENI chair George Lucas at Beechlawn Special School in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland.

This year, children from rural primary schools were invited to enter a competition to create posters for inclusion in a safety calendar that promotes the campaign. The competition attracted more than 3000 entries from 74 schools, and the winners were selected from three categories – Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 schools, and special schools.

During the campaign’s launch event, Mr Lucas presented framed copies of the winning entries to Lucy Mackey of Mountnorris Primary School, Dayna Morrow of Meadow Bridge Primary School, and Natasha McCarten of Beechlawn Special School.

Said Mr Lucas: “In the ten years up to 2004, when HSENI launched its ‘Be Aware Kids’ Child Safety on Farms Campaign, we lost 18 children in farm accidents. In the eight since the campaign has been running there has been one death. This is a dramatic fall in numbers but it is still one too many.

“While HSENI is committed to continuing the campaign I would challenge all the key agriculture stakeholders to redouble their efforts to eliminate all accidental deaths on farms and make them truly safe places for children to live and play and for adults to work.”

Delighted at the level of interest shown by the children and the standard of their artwork, the HSENI chair added: “HSENI will be distributing 35,000 calendars through rural primary schools across Northern Ireland. I would urge all farm families to put their copy up on their kitchen wall and heed its very important messages.”

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