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April 2, 2013

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Hard-hitting safety campaign aimed at Northern Ireland’s farmers

A new multi-media advertising campaign designed to dramatically ramp up awareness of farm safety in Northern Ireland was launched last week.

This campaign, which was launched by the Farm Safety Partnership, focuses on reminding farmers to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ before starting any job on the farm and complements a very intense programme of activity aimed at keeping farmers and their families safe. The ‘SAFE’ message addresses the four biggest causes of death and injury on Northern Irish farms: slurry, animals, falls from height and equipment.

Since April 2007, 43 people in Northern Ireland have been killed as a direct result of agricultural activities.

The Farm Safety Partnership comprises the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), NFU Mutual (NFUM), the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA).

It describes this new campaign as “a first of its kind” for Northern Ireland. The television, radio and press advertisements are specifically designed to help reduce the number of farm deaths and injuries affecting the sector, with a message that will resonate with thousands of farmers, their families and friends who could be at risk from the high-risk dangers which farm working involves.

Launching the campaign, Health and safety minister Arlene Foster said: “These emotionally-charged advertisements are particularly effective at bringing home the importance of farm safety in the workplace. When a farming accident happens, it affects everyone – family, friends, and, in many cases, an entire farming community which is generally close-knit by its nature.

“Farming is an extremely tough profession and the challenges are immense. It requires huge amounts of determination, tenacity and skill. However, it can be deadly.

“I’m confident that the messages behind this targeted and influential campaign will make sure that everyone involved in farming will not only get the safety messages behind it, but will heed those messages and take direct action to avoid the devastation that accidents can leave behind.”

Michele O’Neill, Minister for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), said: “Farming is a vital part of the economy in the north, but, unfortunately the safety record of farming is poor. This new advertising campaign will signpost farmers and their families to where they can seek help and advice to reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities on farms. The adoption of safe working practice will go a long way to preventing accidents that often have devastating consequences.”

HSENI chairman George Lucas added: “Our research shows that while most farmers appreciate that there are many dangers involved in everything they do, too many don’t routinely assess those risks and take a few moments to think about what they are going to do and make preparations that will help to avoid injury or death.

“We consulted with farmers and their families and they have asked for a hard-hitting, realistic campaign to get the message home about the dangers and consequences of their actions. This campaign will help ensure that everyone involved is familiar with the guidance available and, most importantly of all, directly acts upon it.”


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