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Ensure Children are Safe on Scotland’s Farms and Crofts this Summer

Farm Safety Week 2017 to take place from 24 to 28 July

With Scottish schools starting to break up for the holidays next week, NFU Scotland is warning farmers and crofters of the dangers of letting children play on farm during the summer.

The warning comes ahead of Farm Safety Week, which takes place from 24 to 28 July, when farmers, crofters, their families and their staff will be urged to improve the Scotland’s safety record.

The Union, working in conjunction with Farm Safety Partnership Scotland, will be issuing case studies throughout Farm Safety Week of well-known farmers within the industry who have survived accidents on farm and the impact this had on their family and business.

Farm Safety Week will focus on the strapline ‘Farm safety is a lifestyle, not a slogan’.

Accidents on farm can be life changing, not just for those involved but for their families and workforce too. They can be even more devastating when children are involved, and the plea for this summer’s school holidays is for farmers and crofters to take measures to make their farms and crofts safer for children.  We all know how fantastic it can be to grow up on a farm, however, with the tragic death of several children on Scotland’s farms in recent years, the industry needs to take action to stop further deaths and injury.

Farm Safety Partnership Scotland – a collaboration between NFU Scotland, Health and Safety Executive, Scottish Government and NFU Mutual – is working to significantly reduce the tragic toll on Scotland’s farms and crofts each year.

During Farm Safety week, the initiative will use case studies to highlight the following dangers:

  • Falls – Matthew Brown of Strathaven
  • Equipment/Machinery – Andrew McCornick, NFU Scotland President
  • Transport – Ednie Farms, near Peterhead
  • Livestock – Margaret Butler of Dumfries and Galloway and Orkney’s Michael Stevenson


NFU Scotland Vice President Martin Kennedy commented: “We need the help of Scotland’s farmers and crofters, and those working right across the industry, to reduce death and injuries happening on our farms and crofts.

“Farms can be dangerous places so it is important that everyone takes the necessary steps to stay safe while working. One death within the industry is far too many, and it is not just the initial impact but the long-term effect it can have on families and on the business.

“This impact is exacerbated when children are involved. We are pleading with the industry to take measures to make their farms and crofts a safer place – create designated spaces, educate children about off-limit areas and make workers aware that children could be on farm and to check their mirrors even more regularly. Simple measures could prevent heartbreak.

“Most people working within the agricultural industry will be able to recall a close call that could so easily have resulted in serious injury or even fatality. By adopting some simple steps as part of everyday working practices we can reduce the number of accidents and deaths on Scotland’s farms.

“We are grateful to those who have given the time to tell their stories in the hope that others will learn from their mistakes. It’s all too easy to cut corners to save time, but this can have serious, and sometimes fatal consequences. Please take care and make your safety, and that of those around you a priority.”  

Top tips for working safely with children on farms and crofts:

  • A farmyard is not a playground so establish rules about what young people can and can’t do on the farm.
  • Keep children away from farm machinery and moving vehicles.
  • Children under 13 years old must not drive or operate tractors or other farm machinery.                                    
  • Children under 13 years old must not ride as passengers on tractors, ATVs or other farm machinery.
  • Ensure drivers have a clear view of corners and install mirrors to increase visibility if necessary
  • Make sure slurry pits and tanks are securely fenced and inaccessible to prevent children from getting near the area.


Notes for Editors

  • Farm Safety Week was first launched in 2013 and aims to cut the toll of accidents which give agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland. This year’s Farm Safety Week is being supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.
  • Farm Safety Week takes place from July 24 to 28, 2017 and case studies will be available during this week, please contact media@nfus.org.uk.
  • If using social media to promote Farm Safety Week please use the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek2017

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 86/17


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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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