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Schools to join farms safety drive

Published 15/06/2015

Farms are dangerous places for children, the Health and Safety Authority has warned
Farms are dangerous places for children, the Health and Safety Authority has warned

Every school in the country has received a letter to educate youngsters on summer safety after 23 children died on farms in the last decade.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) asked teachers to spend 30 minutes of the day passing on essential messages in an effort to reduce the number of lives lost this summer.

Seven people have been killed on farms to date this year, including one child.

Toddler Ben Regan died from injuries he suffered after steel from a horsebox fell on him while he was feeding chickens on a farm at Derryleary in Mizen, west Cork, in late May.

Thirty people were killed in incidents on farms last year, five of them children.

HSE chief executive Martin O'Halloran highlighted the role teachers can play in preventing a repeat of the number of accidents and deaths on farms in recent years.

"We are calling on schools to join us in a national effort to prevent children from being seriously injured or dying in a farm accident this summer," he said.

"I am asking every teacher to spend 30 minutes communicating key farm safety messages to children.

"Summer is a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done. Farmers need to be prepared for the presence of children during the holidays."

The HSA launched the appeal with a warning that farms remain the only workplace where children still continue to die, describing the loss of life as a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for communities.

It is estimated there are several hundreds of non-fatal accidents on farms every year but the vast majority of injuries and incidents are not reported to authorities.

Safety chiefs said some of the biggest risks to children on farms in the summer period are tractors, machinery and other farm vehicles, travelling on farm vehicles and slurry pits.

The HSA warned about children being allowed to play where farm work is taking place, near slurry pits or around slurry agitation and being unsupervised near animals.

As part of the campaign teachers are being asked to use specially produced videos to explain to children the dangers of being around farms and animals.

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