Take Measures to Protect Children on Farms and Crofts

Final day of #FarmSafetyWeek2017

Today marks the last day of Farm Safety Week, an initiative, launched in 2013, which aims to remind the farming world that farm safety is a lifestyle and not a slogan in the hope that there will be some reduction in the number of accidents which continue to give farming the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK & Ireland.

Over the past five years the initiative has grown and is now supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland.

Unlike other industries, farms can be family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present and, in figures released this week by the HSE, of the three members of the public killed in 2016/17 one was a three-year-old child. This was the first child death for three years, bringing the total to four child deaths over the past five years.

NFU Scotland Chief Executive, Scott Walker, speaking on behalf of the Farm Safety Partnership Scotland, 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 and crofts 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.”

According to Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity behind Farm Safety Week: “Agriculture, as an industry, is absolutely vital to the UK economy but farms are the only workplace where children still continue to die in what is always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for their communities. As a parent of two children I find it disturbing and upsetting to read that any child would lose their life in a workplace environment.

“A farm or croft can be a magical place for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered and family relationships are strengthened, but it can also be a dangerous place where the unthinkable can happen in a matter of seconds. Growing up on a farm or croft brings both challenges and blessings. It builds character and a solid work ethic and creates an attitude of optimism. We have witnessed events recently in this world that could make me lose faith in humanity but I am constantly reminded that in our wonderful world of farming and crofting, a sense of community and neighbourly love still exists.”

Notes to Editors

  • 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. For more information on Farm Safety Week visit or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek
  • For members of the press who would like to arrange an interview, either with Farm Safety Partnership Scotland or with those featured, or for photographs, email
  • About Farm Safety Week: Farm Safety Week started in 2013 and struck a chord with the farming community with the initiative being recognised by 56 per cent of the farming community according to recent Voice of the Farmer research*. It has grown to include England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland; five countries with a single purpose; to reduce deaths and serious injuries in agriculture. Voice of the Farmer interviewed a sample of 1,800 farmers across the UK in April 2017, matched to UK profile of all farms by country and farm size
  • The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) Scotland brings together some of the key stakeholders with an interest in farm safety in Scotland. The Partnership comprises The Scottish Government, NFU Mutual, NFU Scotland and Health & Safety Executive.


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 106/17

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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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